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News Release

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.


Employment Standards Administration

ESA Press Release: National Toy Chain Resolves Child Labor Violations [12/01/1999]

For more information call: (202) 693-4650

Toys "R" Us will pay a $200,000 fine and check all 706 of its retail outlets for compliance with child labor laws as part of an agreement it has reached with the U.S. Labor Department.

"We found more than 300 young Toys "R" Us employees working more hours and later into the night than allowed by law," said Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman, "but once alerted, the company worked closely with us to help ensure compliance. This agreement will protect the toy store's youngest workers and should help its managers better understand the law."

Child labor laws restrict the hours that 14-and 15-year-olds can work. As part of the agreement it reached with the department, Toys "R" Us will have color-coded name tags for 14-and 15-year-old workers to help supervisors recognize them. Their time cards will be kept in separate racks, and child labor hours restrictions will be posted on the company's intranet system.

Child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act were enacted to ensure that when young people work, the work is safe and does not jeopardize their education. Under the law, 14-and 15-year-olds cannot work during school hours, before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on school days or after 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day. They are prohibited from working more than three hours on a school day, eight hours on a non-school day, 18 hours in a school week or 40 hours in a non-school week. The law also restricts teens from some work that could be dangerous.

The department's Wage and Hour Division checked 35 Toys "R" Us stores in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont for compliance with the law. They found 307 teens stocking shelves, working cash registers and cleaning up stores well in excess of the hours allowed by law. Altogether, 19 outlets were found in violation. Most violations were found in Massachusetts; none were found in Rhode Island. Toys "R" Us is headquartered in Paramus, N.J.

The protection of child workers both in the U.S. and abroad is one of Secretary Herman's priorities. Last summer she launched "Safe Work/Safe Kids", an initiative designed to increase child labor compliance through increased enforcement, education, partnerships and public awareness.

The Wage and Hour Division, part of the department's Employment Standards Administration, enforces the minimum wage, overtime and child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Information on the law and "Safe Work/Safe Kids" can be found on the Internet at

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employment Standards Administration
December 1, 1999
Media Contact: David Roberts
Phone Number