Age Requirements

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets wage, hours worked, and safety requirements for minors (individuals under age 18) working in jobs covered by the statute. The rules vary depending upon the particular age of the minor and the particular job involved. As a general rule, the FLSA sets 14 years old as the minimum age for employment, and limits the number of hours worked by minors under the age of 16.

Also, the FLSA generally prohibits the employment of a minor in work declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor (for example, work involving excavation, driving, and the operation of many types of power-driven equipment). The FLSA contains a number of requirements that apply only to particular types of jobs (for example, agricultural work or the operation of motor vehicles) and many exceptions to the general rules (for example, work by a minor for his or her parents). Each state also has its own laws relating to employment, including the employment of minors. If state law and the FLSA overlap, the law which is more protective of the minor will apply.

Posting requirements: Nonagricultural employers must also post the Labor Department-issued Minimum Wage Poster listing minimum age requirements in a prominent place at the worksite.

The following links will help in determining whether a particular job is covered by the FLSA, whether any special conditions apply, and obtaining additional information, including state law, relating to the employment of minors.

Child labor laws vary from state to state. Please consult your state department of labor for this information.

Webpages on this Topic

What Is the Youngest Age At Which A Person Can Be Employed?
Information about age requirements for employment.

Youth Rules!
A gateway providing quick access to information about federal and state labor laws that apply to young workers. The web page includes information designed to educate teens, parents, educators, and employers about the hours youth can work, the jobs youth can do, and how to prevent workplace injuries.

elaws Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Advisor - Child Labor Rules
This Advisor answers questions about workers and businesses that are subject to the FLSA's child labor rules.

Requirements and Exceptions for Minors Employed as Drivers
Specific guidance on what roles a minor employee can take on while driving a motor vehicle on public roadways. This notice lists other exemptions to the motor vehicle driving rule.

Application of Federal Child Labor Provisions to Grocery Stores Fact Sheet
Specific direction on what jobs minor employees of certain ages may perform while employed by grocery stores.

Application of Federal Child Labor Provisions to Amusement Parks and Recreation Establishments Fact Sheet
Specific information about what jobs minor employees of certain ages may perform while employed by amusement parks. Prohibited jobs include driving a motor vehicle or working as an outside helper on a public road.

Work Experience and Career Exploration Program (WECEP)
Offers exceptions to the child labor regulations that permit 14- and 15-year-olds to be employed in otherwise prohibited circumstances. WECEP is designed to provide a carefully planned work experience and career exploration program for students who can benefit from a career-oriented education.

State Labor Offices/State Laws
Information on state minimum wage rates and other state child labor topics.

State Departments of Labor Websites
Links to state departments of labor websites and contact information for each department.

Regulations on this Topic

29 CFR §570.2 - Minimum Age Standards for Nonagricultural Employment

29 CFR §§570.31-34 - Child Labor Reg. 3 - Employment of Minors Between 14 and 16 Years of Age