Are You Subject to Child Labor
Originally, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) restricted child
labor only where interstate activities were concerned. Subsequent amendments
extended the reach of the child-labor restriction to all the activities of
businesses that qualify as enterprises
under the law. This does not mean that the employment of a child is totally
prohibited — it's only restricted.
Exemptions. You are not subject to child labor requirements, but are
still subject to minimum
pay, and equal
pay requirements, if your minor employee's employment meets one of the
- Farm employment outside of school hours. Children under the age of
12 may not be employed on farms outside of school hours, except by a parent
or guardian or, with parental consent, on a farm exempt from wage
requirements. However, the law permits 10 and 11 year olds to engage in hand
harvest agricultural labor for up to eight weeks a year where a number of
conditions are satisfied. Children age 12 or 13 may not work on farms
outside of school hours, except with parental consent or on a farm where a
parent or guardian also is employed.
- Parental nonfarm employment. Parental employment of children in
occupations other than manufacturing, mining, or those officially deemed
hazardous for children is not restricted by federal law. Even the
"hazardous occupations" are permitted for children employed on
farms owned or operated by their parents.
- Theatrical employment. Employment of children as actors or
performers in motion pictures or in theatrical, radio, or television
productions is not prohibited.
Even though you may not be subject to child labor
restrictions under federal law, most states have child labor
restrictions, as well. Be sure to check
your state's laws in assessing your liability.