What are the child labor laws?

Due to an ongoing worker shortage, employers may be tempted to utilize younger workers to help fill the void. Although minor workers can certainly take on a multitude of roles, employers should keep the federal and state laws in mind that offer protections for those under the age of 18.

The federal child labor provisions, authorized by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), also known as the child labor laws, were enacted to ensure that when young people work, the work is safe and does not jeopardize their health, well-being, or educational opportunities. The Michigan Youth Employment Standards Act covers all Michigan employers who employ minors, and people under 18 years old, along with the FLSA on federally covered businesses.

What are the child labor regulations for 14 and 15-year-olds?

Child labor regulations limit the hours and times of day that 14- and 15-year-olds may work to no more than:

  • 3 hours on a school day, including Fridays;
  • 8 hours on a non-school day;
  • 18 hours during a week when school is in session; and
  • 40 hours during a week when school is not in session.

In addition, youth ages 14 and 15 are limited to work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.—except between June 1 and Labor Day when the evening hour is extended to 9 p.m.

What are the child labor regulations for 16 and 17-year-olds?

Sixteen and 17-year-old minors may not work:

  • More than 24 hours in a week when school is in session;
  • More than 48 hours in a week when school is not in session;
  • Before 6 a.m. or after 10:30 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; or
  • Before 6 a.m. or after 11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and during periods when school is not in session for at least 7 days.

What happens if an employer doesn’t obey child labor laws?

Violators of the child labor provisions are subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 for each employee who was the subject of a violation. As businesses fill job openings with minors new to the workforce, it is essential employers understand and comply with child labor rules. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the division at 1-866-487-9243.

Help is available

The attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to assist business owners. For more information, please call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.

Categories: Business