The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets 14 years of age as the minimum age for employment, but restricts hours of work and allowable occupations for 14- and 15-year-olds. Rules and prohibited jobs vary depending on the age of the youth worker and his or her occupation.
Hazardous work. The FLSA prohibits minors under age 18 years old to work in any occupation that it deems to be hazardous. Among these occupations are excavation, manufacturing explosives, mining, and operating many types of power-driven equipment. Certain industries allow minors under age 18 to perform certain tasks at worksites whose primary work activity is dangerous, but these tasks are very specific and the state and federal government closely monitor compliance.
Different age requirements apply to the employment of minors in agriculture. Minors under age 16 may not engage in occupations involving the operation of corn pickers, grain combines, and power post-hole diggers, and other types of farm equipment.
Child labor laws vary from state to state. Please consult your state department of labor for this information.
DOL Web Pages on This Topic
What Is the Youngest Age At Which A Person Can Be Employed?
Information about age requirements for employment.
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.
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 §516.2
Required Recordkeeping Items