What Are the Current Child Labor Laws?

Worldwide, there are 152 million children who are victims of child labor. Children working in hazardous conditions are not the only child labor law violations. Young children who are legally not allowed to work may fall victim to child labor.

Read on to understand the current child labor laws in the United States.

Age Restrictions

Child labor laws are mainly defined by age restrictions. Older children can work long hours at jobs that are defined as safe while younger kids can only work restricted hours at certain jobs.

Federal law states that children that are at least 14 years old can do non-agricultural work. Depending on the state you live in, these rules may vary.

Children under 14 may be actors and performers, babysit casually, or deliver newspapers. They can also work in agricultural jobs if their parents own the business. However, the job cannot be hazardous.

Children between 14 and 15 years old can work, but they have limited hours during the school year. On weekends and during the summer, these ages can work up to 40 hours a week.

These kids also cannot work in jobs that are considered dangerous. The most common jobs for this age range include tutoring, retail jobs, delivery jobs, etc.

The federal government allows 16 and 17-year-olds to be employed for unlimited hours as long as the occupation is not hazardous. This age range is also not allowed to use certain equipment that is dangerous. For example, commercial mixers, meat processing machines, etc.

After a child turns 18, they are no longer supervised under federal youth employment. They can work any legal job for an unlimited amount of hours.

Youth Minimum Wage

Youth minimum wage is different than regular minimum age as employers can pay employees $4.25 if they are under 20 years old. This only occurs for 90 consecutive calendar days. After the 90 days are up, the employee must get the federal minimum wage.

Jobs Exempt From Child Labor Laws

Child labor law regulations state that kids can work for businesses that are owned entirely by their parents. There are no hour restrictions for these types of jobs. Children under 16 cannot work in manufacturing or mining even if their parents own the business.

Children under the age of 16 cannot work during school hours, but they can work in any agricultural jobs. Dangerous jobs that children cannot work in include handling chemicals, operating tractors, and handling explosives.

It is also important to note that some states require those under the age of 18 to have working papers. You can get this form at the children’s school or the state’s department of labor.

If you or your child has been wronged under employment law, a community law attorney can help.

Child Labor Laws Explained

Before applying to jobs as a teen, it is necessary to understand the child labor laws in your state. This guide provides the basics but every state may have more specific laws regarding this topic. Remember that employers must follow state and federal child labor regulation laws.

Need more information on important topics? Check out our other blog posts.

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