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News Release

U.S. Labor Department Publishes Youth Employment Rules

Rules Become Effective in 60 Days

WASHINGTON—The Labor Department published today in the Federal Register final regulations implementing changes to employment rules for youth. The new rules expand protections for youth working in restaurant cooking, roofing, and driving, among other changes.

These rules are part of the department's ongoing effort to promote positive, safe work experiences for young workers, said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. This follows upon our very successful YouthRules! public awareness campaign launched in May 2002 to educate teens, parents, educators, employers, and the public about federal and state laws regarding young workers.

The rules incorporate into the regulations the provisions of two statutory amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act that deal with driving and the operation of compactors and balers by teenage employees. The first statutory change established criteria permitting 16 and 17-year-olds to load, but not operate or unload, certain waste-material baling and compacting equipment. The second statutory change delineated what limited on-the-job driving may be performed by qualified 17-year-olds.

Provisions are also included to modernize the youth employment provisions regarding what types of cooking 14- and 15-year olds are permitted to perform. The new rules now permit those minors to clean and maintain cooking devices in some situations.

The rules published today also expand the current prohibition against youth under age 18 working in roofing occupations to encompass all work on or about a roof , including work performed upon or in close proximity to a roof. Under the new provisions, youth may only perform such work if in an apprenticeship or student-learner program.

The department published the rules following the review of comments received in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The final rules address some of the recommendations made by NIOSH in a report to the department in May 2002. The complete text of the rule is now available in the Federal Register, online at and the department's website at

The department has also revised existing compliance assistance materials to comport with these new rules. These materials may be found at and Information may also be obtained by calling the department's toll-free help line at 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).

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

Employment Standards Administration
December 17, 2004