Youth and Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor is the sole federal agency that monitors child labor and enforces child labor laws. The most sweeping federal law that restricts the employment and abuse of child workers is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Child labor provisions under FLSA are designed to protect the educational opportunities of youth and prohibit their employment in jobs that are detrimental to their health and safety. FLSA restricts the hours that youth under 16 years of age can work and lists hazardous occupations too dangerous for young workers to perform. Enforcement of the FLSA's child labor provisions is handled by the Department's Wage and Hour Division.

The Department's YouthRules! initiative seeks to promote positive and safe work experiences for young workers.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) offers numerous resources for youth. ODEP's focus on youth policy is aimed at improving transition outcomes of youth and young adults with disabilities toward successful employment and adulthood.

The Employment and Training Administration sponsors many programs designed to provide training opportunities and and job placement assistance programs for America's youth.

The efforts and activities of the Department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs’ (ILAB) Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking include research and publication of major reports on international child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking; funding and oversight of projects to eliminate exploitive child labor and forced labor around the world; and assistance in the development and implementation of U.S. government policy on international child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking issues.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which serves as a statistical resource to the Department of Labor, gathers statistics on a variety of subjects including those related to child labor.