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Payroll Information
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
Child Labor Under FLSA
(Updated 06/06/2008 )


Child Labor under the Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides for the following limitations and restrictions for employees under the age of 18 years of age.  Limitations and restriction vary with age as illustrated below for non-agricultural child workers.

Age Restrictions on Work
18 + Can perform any job, whether hazardous or not, no limit on hours worked
16 to 17 Can not perform hazardous work, no limit on hours worked
14 to 15 Considered child workers. Work is limited to certain occupations under conditions which do not interfere with schooling, health or well being.

Child workers may not:

  • Work during school hours Work before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m., except can work up till 9:00 p.m. between June 1st through Labor Day
  • Cannot work more than 18 hours a week during school weeks
  • Cannot work more than 8 hours on non-school days
  • Cannot work more than 40 hours per week during non-school weeks.

Hazardous Work

  • Manufacturing and storing explosives. Driving a motor vehicle and being an outside helper on a motor vehicle.
  • Coal mining.
  • Logging and saw milling.
  • Power-driven woodworking machines.
  • Exposure to radioactive substances.
  • Power-driven hoisting apparatus.
  • Power-driven metal-forming, punching and shearing machines.
  • Mining, other than coal mining.
  • Meat packing or processing (including the use of power-driven meat slicing machines).
  • Power-driven bakery machines.
  • Power-driven paper product machines, including scrap paper balers and paper box compactors.
  • Manufacturing brick, tile, and related products.
  • Power-driven circular saws, band saws and guillotine shears.
  • Wrecking, demolition, and ship breaking operations.
  • Roofing operations and all work on or about a roof.
  • Excavation operations.

Teen Drive for Employment Act

The Teen Drive for Employment Act (PL 105-334) is an amendment to the child labor provisions (Hazardous Occupations Order No.2) of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It became effective October 31, 1998. This law:

  • Prohibits 16-year-old workers from driving on public roads while working.
  • Restricts 17-year-olds to driving cars and light trucks on public roadways as part of their employment, only if all the following requirements are met:
    • Drive only during daylight hours;
    • Hold a state license valid for the type of driving being performed;
    • Have successfully completed state-approved driver education;
    • Have no record of any moving violation at the time of hire;
    • Drive in a car or truck equipped with a seat belt for the driver and any passengers, and the employer must have instructed the youth that the seat belts must be used when driving the vehicle: and
    • Drive only automobiles or trucks that don't exceed 6,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.

In addition, the driving performed by the 17-year-old employee may not involve:

  • Towing vehicles;
  • Route deliveries or route sales:
  • The transportation for hire of property, goods, or passengers;
  • Urgent, time-sensitive deliveries:
  • Transporting more than three passengers, including employees of the employer;
  • Driving beyond a 30-mile radius from youth's place of employment;
  • More than two trips away from the primary place of employment in any single day for the purpose of delivering the employer's goods to a customer;
  • More than two trips away from the primary place of employment in any single day for the purpose of transporting passengers, other than employees of the employer.
  • Driving must also be only occasional and incidental to the 17-year-old's employment. This means no more than one-third of the youth's work time in any workday and no more than 20 percent of the youth's work time in any workweek may be spent driving.

The new rules apply whether the 17-year-old is driving a personal or employer-owned vehicle. Previously, 16- and 17-year-olds could do occasional driving on the job for such things as running errands or making deliveries.

Employers should obtain documentation of the employee's age, completion of a driver education course, clean driving record, and appropriate state driver's license.