LegalFix
Select your state

Employment law

child labor

The child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are administered by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD). These provisions are designed to protect the educational opportunities of minors and to prohibit their employment in jobs and under conditions detrimental to their health and well being.

In nonagricultural work, the child labor provisions apply to enterprises with employees engaging in interstate commerce, producing goods for interstate commerce, or handling, selling, or working on goods or materials that have been moved in or produced for interstate commerce. For most firms, an annual dollar volume of business test of not less than $500,000 applies.

Employees of firms that do not meet the $500,000 annual dollar volume test may be subject to the FLSA’s child labor provisions in any workweek in which they are individually engaged in interstate commerce, the production of goods for interstate commerce, or an activity that is closely related and directly essential to the production of such goods.

The FLSA covers the following employers regardless of their dollar volume of business:

• hospitals;

• institutions primarily engaged in the care of the sick, aged, mentally ill, or disabled who reside on the premises;

• schools for children who are mentally or physically disabled, or gifted;

• preschools, elementary and secondary schools, and institutions of higher education; and

• federal, state, and local government agencies.

While 16 is the minimum age for most nonfarm work, minors aged 14 and 15 may work outside of school hours in certain occupations under certain conditions. Minors may, at any age:

• deliver newspapers;

• perform in radio, television, movies, or theatrical productions;

• work for their parents in their solely owned nonfarm businesses (except in mining, manufacturing, or in any other occupation declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor); or

• gather evergreens and make evergreen wreaths.


Basic Provisions/Requirements

The child labor provisions of the Act include restrictions on hours of work and occupations for youths under age 16. These provisions also set forth 17 hazardous occupations orders for jobs that the Secretary of Labor has declared too dangerous for those under age 18 to perform.

The permissible jobs and hours of work, by age, in nonfarm work are as follows:

• Minors age 18 or older are not subject to restrictions on jobs or hours

• Minors age 16 and 17 may perform any job not declared hazardous by the Secretary, and are not subject to restrictions on hours

• Minors age 14 and 15 may work outside school hours in various nonmanufacturing, non-mining, nonhazardous jobs listed by the Secretary in regulations published at 29 CFR Part 570 under the following conditions:

o no more than three hours on a school day

o nor more than 18 hours in a school week

o no more than eight hours on a non-school day

o no more than 40 hours in a non-school week

o may not begin work before 7 a.m. or work after 7 p.m., except from June 1 through Labor Day, when evening hours are extended until 9 p.m.

o permissible work for 14 and 15 year olds is limited to those jobs specifically listed in the Secretary’s regulations.

WHD’s regulations provide some exceptions to these limitations on hours worked for 14 and 15 year olds enrolled in an approved Work Experience and Career Exploration Program (WECEP) or Work Study Program (WSP).

By regulation, employers must keep records of the dates of birth of employees under age 19, their daily starting and quitting times, their daily and weekly hours of work, and their occupations. The FLSA provides that an employer that has on file an officially-issued employment or age certificate showing that the minor is the minimum age required by the FLSA is not liable for violating the child labor provisions if that documentation proves to be incorrect. Age or employment certificates issued under most state laws are generally acceptable for this purpose. See 29 CFR 570.5.

States also have child labor laws that vary from state from state and are usually located in a state’s statutes.

In Texas, the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are enforced by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) to ensure minors are not employed under conditions that are harmful to their health and well-being or that interfere with their education. The FLSA applies to businesses with an annual dollar volume of at least $500,000, as well as to hospitals, schools, and government agencies regardless of business volume. Minors aged 14 and 15 are allowed to work outside school hours under specific conditions, such as a limit of three hours on a school day and 18 hours in a school week. They cannot work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m., except during summer when they can work until 9 p.m. Minors aged 16 and 17 may work without hour restrictions in non-hazardous jobs. Employers must keep records of minors' birth dates and work schedules. Texas also has its own child labor laws, which may have additional requirements or restrictions, and employers must comply with both federal and state regulations.


Texas Statutes & Rules

Texas Labor Code, Title 2, Subtitle A, Chapter 51 - Employment of Children
This chapter outlines the regulations for the employment of children in Texas, which complement federal standards set by the FLSA.

The Texas Labor Code provides specific provisions regarding the employment of children, aligning with the FLSA but also including state-specific regulations. It defines the permissible work for children under various age groups, mirroring federal law that allows minors aged 14 and 15 to work in non-hazardous jobs under certain conditions and those aged 16 and 17 without hour restrictions in non-hazardous jobs. The code also stipulates that employers must have an employment certificate for minors under 18, which serves as proof of the child's age. The Texas Workforce Commission is responsible for issuing these certificates. Additionally, the code lists prohibited employments and hours of work for children, which employers must adhere to, and sets forth penalties for violations of child labor laws.

Texas Labor Code, Title 2, Subtitle A, Chapter 51, Subchapter A - General Provisions
This subchapter provides definitions and general provisions related to the employment of children in Texas.

Chapter 51, Subchapter A of the Texas Labor Code defines key terms such as 'child,' 'employer,' and 'employment' for the purposes of state child labor laws. It establishes the general principle that the employment of children is subject to the conditions and restrictions laid out in the subsequent sections of the code. It also clarifies that the provisions of this chapter do not apply to children working in family businesses or in the agricultural sector under certain conditions.

Texas Labor Code, Title 2, Subtitle A, Chapter 51, Subchapter B - Employment Certificate
This subchapter details the requirements for obtaining an employment certificate for minors in Texas.

Subchapter B specifies the process for obtaining an employment certificate for a child, which is necessary for their lawful employment. It outlines the information that must be included in the certificate, such as the child's age and a description of the job duties. The certificate serves as evidence of the child's age and must be kept on file by the employer. The Texas Workforce Commission is tasked with issuing these certificates, and there are provisions for the revocation of certificates if the terms of employment change or if the employment is found to be detrimental to the child's health or well-being.

Texas Labor Code, Title 2, Subtitle A, Chapter 51, Subchapter C - Prohibited Employments and Hours of Work for Children
This subchapter outlines the restrictions on the types of employment and working hours for children in Texas.

Subchapter C of Chapter 51 lists the types of employment that are prohibited for children, which include various hazardous occupations and industries. It also sets forth the hours during which children are allowed to work, which are designed to ensure that work does not interfere with schooling. For children under 16, there are restrictions on the number of hours they can work per day and per week, as well as the times of day during which they can be employed. The subchapter also includes exceptions for certain types of employment, such as newspaper delivery and entertainment, similar to the exemptions provided by the FLSA.

Texas Labor Code, Title 2, Subtitle A, Chapter 51, Subchapter D - Enforcement; Penalties
This subchapter discusses the enforcement of child labor laws and the penalties for violations in Texas.

Subchapter D provides the enforcement mechanisms for the child labor provisions of the Texas Labor Code. It grants authority to the Texas Workforce Commission and other designated officers to inspect workplaces and investigate potential violations of child labor laws. The subchapter also prescribes penalties for employers who violate these laws, which can include fines and, in some cases, criminal charges. The severity of the penalties typically depends on the nature of the violation and whether it is a repeat offense.

Federal Statutes & Rules

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) - Child Labor Provisions
The FLSA's child labor provisions are designed to protect minors by restricting the types of work and the number of hours they can work, ensuring their education and well-being are not compromised.

The child labor provisions under the FLSA set specific age thresholds and work-hour limitations for minors. Those under 18 are prohibited from working in hazardous occupations as determined by the Secretary of Labor. Minors aged 14 and 15 are allowed to work outside school hours under certain conditions, such as limited hours per school and non-school days, and they cannot work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. (9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day). Employers must keep records of minors' birth dates, work schedules, and occupations. Officially-issued age certificates protect employers from liability if they are found to be incorrect. The FLSA applies to businesses with an annual dollar volume of at least $500,000, as well as to hospitals, schools, government agencies, and other specified institutions regardless of business volume.

29 CFR Part 570 - Regulations on Child Labor
These regulations provide detailed guidance on the employment of minors under the FLSA, including the list of permissible jobs and conditions for 14 and 15-year-olds.

Part 570 of Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations outlines the occupations in which 14 and 15-year-olds may be employed and the hours they may work. It includes exceptions for minors enrolled in approved educational programs like WECEP or WSP. The regulations also specify record-keeping requirements for employers and the conditions under which work is permissible for minors, including the issuance of age certificates. These regulations are essential for employers to ensure compliance with the FLSA's child labor provisions.

Hazardous Occupations Orders (HOs)
The Secretary of Labor has identified certain jobs that are too dangerous for minors under 18 to perform, known as Hazardous Occupations Orders.

The FLSA includes Hazardous Occupations Orders which define specific jobs that are considered too dangerous for minors under the age of 18. These orders prohibit employment of these minors in occupations like mining, logging, meatpacking, roofing, and using certain power-driven equipment. The goal is to protect young workers from serious injury or death due to the dangerous nature of these jobs. Employers must be aware of these orders to avoid placing minors in prohibited positions.