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Wage and Hour Division
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Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Frequently Asked Questions About Youth Employment (Non-Agricultural)


    General

  1. What are Hazardous Occupations Orders (HOs)?
  2. Do HOs generally prevent students from participating in schools’ vocational education programs?
  3. Does federal law generally require schools to pay students wages for their participation in vocational education programs?
  4. Vocational Education Programs Offered in Partnership with Businesses

  5. Are there any exemptions to the HOs that may apply when students become employees of a business?
  6. Apprentices and Student Learners

  7. How does an employer obtain approval for an Apprentice and/or Student-Learner?
  8. If WHD does not approve Apprenticeship programs or Student-Learners in programs for HO exemptions, what role, if any, does WHD play?
  9. Are there any exceptions to the federal minimum wage requirements applicable to students participating in these programs?




School-Based Vocational Education Programs in Secondary Education

Question 1: What are Hazardous Occupations Orders (HOs)?

Non-agricultural HOs are regulations that prohibit 16- and 17-year-olds from performing certain types of work that the Secretary of Labor has deemed hazardous for minors. There are currently 17 non-agricultural HOs:

  • HO 1: Manufacturing or storage occupations involving explosives.
  • HO 2: Motor vehicle operations.
  • HO 3: Coal mine occupations.
  • HO 4: Forestry occupations, logging, and sawmilling.
  • HO 5: Power-driven woodworking machine operations.
  • HO 6: Radioactive substances.
  • HO 7: Power-driven hoisting apparatus occupations.
  • HO 8: Power-driven metal forming, punching, and shearing machine occupations.
  • HO 9: Occupations in mining, other than coal.
  • HO 10: Slaughtering, meat and poultry packing, processing, and rendering.
  • HO 11: Power-driven bakery machine occupations.
  • HO 12: Power-driven balers, compactors, and paper products machines.
  • HO 13: Brick, tile, and kindred products.
  • HO 14: Power-driven circular saws, band saws, guillotine shears, chain saws, reciprocating saws, wood chippers, and abrasive cutting discs.
  • HO 15: Wrecking, demolition, and shipbreaking operations.
  • HO 16: Roofing operations and work on or about a roof.
  • HO 17: Excavation operations.

These HOs can be found in 29 C.F.R. §§ 570.51 – 570.68. Additional information concerning HOs is available in Fact Sheet #43: Overview of Youth Employment (Child Labor) Provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for Nonagricultural Occupations.

Question 2: Do HOs generally prevent students from participating in schools’ vocational education programs?

No. The HOs do not apply unless there is an employment relationship. A vocational education program would not generally result in an employment relationship between the school and the student.

Question 3: Does federal law generally require schools to pay students wages for their participation in vocational education programs?

No. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the federal law governing payment of minimum wages and overtime compensation. The FLSA does not apply where there is no employment relationship between the school district and the student.


Vocational Education Programs Offered in Partnership with Businesses

Question 4: Are there any exemptions to the HOs that may apply when students become employees of a business?

Yes. Below are the seven non-agricultural HOs that have exemptions for Apprentices and Student-Learners enrolled in vocational education programs that meet the requirements set forth in 29 C.F.R. §§ 570.50(b) or (c):

  • HO 5: Power-driven woodworking machines
  • HO 8: Power-driven metal-forming, punching and shearing machines
  • HO 10: Power-driven meat-processing machines, slaughtering and meat packing plants
  • HO 12: Balers, compactors, and power-driven paper-products machines—
  • HO 14: Power-driven circular saws, band saws, guillotine shears, chain saws, reciprocating saws, wood chippers, and abrasive cutting discs
  • HO 16: Roofing operations and work performed on or about a roof
  • HO 17: Trenching and excavation operations

Apprentices and Student Learners

Question 5: How does an employer obtain approval for an Apprentice and/or Student-Learner?

You may obtain information concerning Apprenticeship programs from the Office of Apprenticeship, which is administered by the Department of Labor’s Employment Training Administration. Your State’s Apprenticeship agency may also provide helpful information. You may obtain information concerning programs for Student-Learners by contacting either your State or local educational authority about vocational training programs.

WHD plays no role in the approval of such Apprenticeship and Student-Learner programs.

Question 6: If WHD does not approve Apprenticeship programs or Student-Learners in programs for HO exemptions, what role, if any, does WHD play?

WHD examines if youth are employed in bona fide Apprenticeship programs and/or are appropriately classified as Student-Learners when 16- and/or 17-year-olds are performing work in HOs 5, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and/or 17. If the programs and the work performed by the student meet the requirements of 29 C.F.R. § 570.50(b) for Apprentices or 29 C.F.R. § 570.50(c) for Student-Learners, and the work is covered by one of the seven HOs listed under Question 6, the youth employment does not violate the youth employment provisions of the FLSA.

Question 7: Are there any exceptions to the federal minimum wage requirements applicable to students participating in these programs?

Yes. An employer may apply for a sub-minimum wage certificate to pay a Student-Learner a rate of at least 75% of the federal minimum wage (e.g., $7.25 x .75 = $5.44). The employer must submit a separate application for each Student-Learner to the WHD National Certification Team at the following address:

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Attn: National Certification Team
230 S. Dearborn Street, Room 514
Chicago, IL 60604-1757
Telephone: (312) 596-7195

For more information on obtaining sub-minimum wage certificates for student-learners, see 29 C.F.R. §§ 520.500 – 520.508.