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elaws - employment laws assistance for workers and small businesses - FLSA Section 14(c) Advisor

Application of Child Labor Provisions to Employers of Workers with Disabilities

The child labor provisions of the FLSA apply to all covered employers, including those who hold certificates under FLSA Section 14(c) authorizing the payment of special minimum wages (SMWs) to workers with disabilities. There are no waivers or exceptions from the child labor provisions for young workers who have disabilities and are employed at SMWs.

For a general overview of the rules that govern the employment of young workers, visit the elaws FLSA Child Labor Advisor or the YouthRules! Web site.

The Federal child labor provisions for non-agricultural jobs generally provide that:

  • There are no child labor restrictions on the employment of individuals who are at least 18 years old.

  • Youths who are 16 and 17 years old may be employed for unlimited hours, at any time of day, and in any occupation except one that the Secretary of Labor has determined to be particularly hazardous or detrimental to the health and well being of young workers. These restricted jobs are referred to as the Hazardous Occupations Orders (HOs).

  • Workers who are 14 and 15 years old may be employed outside of school hours, during certain times of the day, and for a limited number of hours— but only in those occupations that the Secretary of Labor has determined to be safe and only under conditions that will not jeopardize their health, well being and educational opportunities.

The above restrictions still apply when students with disabilities have been placed in jobs in the community by the school district.

Work centers should note that 14 and 15 year olds may not be employed in manufacturing or processing occupations, or in any area where goods are manufactured or processed. This would include the production area of a work center.

Employers may be subject to a civil money penalty of up to $11,000 for each employee who is the subject of a child labor violation. The FLSA also provides, in the case of willful violation, for a fine up to $10,000; or, for a second offense committed after the conviction of such person for a similar offense, for a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

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FLSA Section 14(c) Advisor | Wage and Hour Division