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Press Releases

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 09-724-PHI (whd 09-167)


August 10, 2009


Joanna Hawkins



U.S. Department of Labor reaches out to local businesses to determine compliance with federal child labor laws

PHILADELPHIA -- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is launching a child labor education and outreach initiative for employers in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties. The division will focus its educational efforts on establishments that use baking and meat processing machines, as well as on places with trash compactors and paper balers — two primary occupational hazards for young workers. The initiative aims to ensure that minors are employed in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), so that they stay safe on the job.

“When companies comply with the law, they limit teen workers’ exposure to workplace safety and health hazards,” said Stewart Bostic, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Philadelphia District Office, which is overseeing the program. “It is important for employers to understand their responsibilities when they hire workers under the age of 18.”.

As part of the effort, the division will distribute child labor compliance information through employer associations whose members include companies that typically employ minors. That outreach will be followed by investigations to determine compliance with the child labor laws.

The division recently completed an earlier phase of its child labor initiative, which focused on supermarkets and grocery stores. The investigations conducted during this phase uncovered five violations of the Hazardous Occupations Order Number 12, which prohibits minors from loading, operating, and unloading trash compactors and paper balers. These child labor violations resulted in $10,890 in civil money penalties.

In 2008, the Philadelphia District Office conducted investigations of supermarkets, grocery stores, and restaurants. Eight investigations disclosed child labor violations, including violations of Hazardous Occupations Order Number 12, as well as Hazardous Occupations Order Number 10, which prohibits minors from operating, cleaning, assembling, and disassembling a meat slicer. These child labor violations resulted in $18,727 in civil money penalties.

The FLSA establishes rules governing the employment of youth under the age of 18. The law prohibits the employment of minors in any nonagricultural occupations that the department has declared hazardous.

In addition to hazardous job restrictions for workers under 18, hours are limited for workers under 16 years of age. Fourteen and 15-year-olds may work outside school hours but not before 7 a.m. and not later than 7 p.m. (9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day). They may not work more than three hours on a school day or more than 18 hours in a school week. They may work up to eight hours on a non-school day and 40 hours in a non-school week. There are additional restrictions on the types of jobs 14- and 15-year-olds may hold.

The Labor Department’s YouthRules! Web site,, is designed to educate employers, young workers, educators and parents about child labor, the jobs minors may perform, and the hours they may work. For further information about FLSA requirements, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free help line at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), or visit the division’s Web site at


U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit