Child Labor

If your business employs students and teenagers, you'll need to become familiar with child labor laws. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) includes child labor provisions that are designed to protect the educational opportunities of youth and protect them from jobs that could be harmful to their health and safety.

In general, the Fair Labor Standards Act:

  • Sets the minimum age for employment (14 years for non-agricultural jobs)

  • Restricts the hours youth under the age of 16 may work

  • Prohibits youth under the age of 18 from being employed in hazardous occupations

FLSA also establishes sub-minimum wage standards for certain employees who are younger than 20 years old, full-time students, student learners, apprentices and workers with disabilities. Employers must have authorization from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in order to pay sub-minimum wage rates.

If you plan to employ anyone under the age of 18 at your business, read more about the Fair Labor Standards Act here. You may also want to check out the DOL's overview on Youth in the Workplace.

Additionally, child labor laws can vary by state for specific occupations, so you should also view your state's labor laws to be sure you are operating within the law.