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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.