Work Hours for Minors - Child Labor
Child labor provisions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and related regulations, generally prohibit employers from hiring minors younger than age 14. Agricultural employers may hire minors younger than 14, but only under certain conditions.
The remainder of this article summarizes nonagricultural child labor work hour restrictions by age, under the FLSA. Links to more information are provided, including for agricultural child labor.
Minors Age 14 to 15
The FLSA restricts work hours to outside of school hours for minors of age 14-15. Except from June 1 through Labor Day, the FLSA also restricts their work hours to after 7:00 A.M. and before 7:00 P.M.
From June 1 through Labor Day, when school is typically not in session for summer break, the FLSA extends this age group's evening work hours to before 9:00 P.M.
Employers generally may not schedule more than the following number of work hours for each minor of age 14-15, in the time slots mentioned above.
- 3 on school days, including Fridays
- 18 total in school weeks
- 8 on non-school days
- 40 total per week, when school is not in session
Under a special provision, employers may schedule minors in this age group who are enrolled in an approved Work Experience and Career Exploration Program for up to 23 hours total during school weeks, including during school hours as allowed under the Program. However, employers still may not schedule more than 3 hours on school days.
As indicated by the 40-hour weekly limit, employers may not schedule overtime work hours for this age group, which are those hours worked in excess of 40 under the FLSA.
Employers are not allowed to schedule workers in this age group for hazardous job duties of any kind.
Minors Age 16 to 17
For minors of age 16-17, employers may schedule an unlimited number of work hours the same as they may for adult workers, including voluntary and mandatory overtime. However, employers are not allowed to schedule workers in this age group for hazardous job duties.
For workers 18 and older, employers may schedule an unlimited number of work hours, including overtime, even if the job duties are hazardous.
For more information about work hours for this age group and older, see Work Hours - Adults.
More About Child Labor Work Hours for Minors
The FLSA has age exceptions (not covered above) for certain types of jobs, such as baby-sitting, delivering newspapers, acting and farming. For more detailed information about child labor under the FLSA, see the eLaws Advisor at the Web site of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
States may enact their own child labor laws that include or expand the minimum provisions in the FLSA. All states have, according to the DOL. Subsequently, child labor work hour rules might vary from state to state and differ somewhat from those in the FLSA; however, they are not allowed to be less restrictive than those in the FLSA.
For summaries of selected types of state child labor laws, see Fair Labor Standards by the DOL. For more detailed information about child labor laws in a specific state, the Web site of the relevant state labor department is likely a good place to start. See also State Labor Laws.