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Environmental Health & Safety
Safety Programs - OSHA Youth employment restrictions
SUMMARY: DOL Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (brochure)

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) youth employment provisions are designed to protect young workers by limiting the types of jobs and the number of hours they may work. The restriction are based on the age of the minor.

18 Years of Age

At 18 years of age youths are no longer subject to the Federal child labor provisions.

16 and 17 Years of Age Hours Rules:

16 and 17 year olds may be employed for unlimited hours in any occupation other than those declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor (see below). Several States do restrict the number of hours and times of day that this age group may be employed. Be sure to check the State Department of Labor. You can find the State rules by logging onto

Hazardous Occuptions

Seventeen hazardous non farm jobs, are not allowed for workers below the age of 18. Generally youth may not work at jobs that involve:

1. Manufacturing or storing explosives

2. Any driving by 16 year olds, certain driving for 17 year olds, and being an outside helper on a motor vehicle (limited driving by 17 year olds is permitted.)

3. Coal mining

4. Logging and sawmilling

5. Power driven woodworking machines*

6. Exposure to radioactive substances and to ionizing radiations

7. Power driven hoisting equipment

8. Power driven metal forming, punching, and shearing machines*

9. Mining, other than coal

10. Meat packing or processing, including power driven meat slicing machines in retail and food service establishments*

11. Power driven bakery machines, including mixers

12. Power driven paper products machines, including balers and compactors*

13. Manufacturing brick, tile, and related products

14. Power driven circular saws, band saws, and guillotine shears*

15. Wrecking, demolition, and ship breaking operations

16. Roofing operations*

17. Excavation operations*

*Limited exemptions are provided for apprentices and student learners under specified standards.


14 and 15 year olds

may work outside of school hours in certain jobs for up to:

  • 3 hours on a school day with up to 18 hours in a school week

  • 8 hours on a non school day with up to 40 hours in a non school week

Also, the work must be performed between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., except from June 1 through Labor Day, when the evening hours are extended to 9:00 p.m.

The states also regulate the hours that young workers under age 18 may work (check with State Department of Labor). You can find the State rules by logging onto

Fourteen and 15 year olds

may work in a variety of jobs, including those generally located in:

  • offices;

  • grocery stores;

  • retail stores;

  • restaurants;

  • movie theaters;

  • baseball parks;

  • amusement parks;

  • gasoline service stations.

Fourteen and 15 year olds may not work in the following occupations:

  • communications or public utilities jobs;

  • construction or repair jobs;

  •  driving a motor vehicle or helping a driver;

  • manufacturing,

  • mining and processing occupations;

  • power driven hoisting apparatus or machinery, other than typical office machines;

  • public messenger jobs;

  • transporting of persons or

  • property workrooms where products are manufactured, mined or processed, or warehousing and storage

In addition, 14 and 15 year olds may not work in any job or occupation declared hazardous for older youth and listed on this guide.

13 Years of Age or Younger

Fourteen is generally the minimum age for employment under the FLSA.

However some jobs are specifically exempted from the youth employment rules and may be performed by those under 14 years of age.

Young workers under 14 years of age can generally:

  • Deliver newspapers;

  • Work as a baby sitter on a casual basis

  • Work as an actor or performer in motion pictures, television, theater or radio;

  • Work in a business solely owned or operated by the youth’s parents. However, parents are prohibited from employing their children in manufacturing, mining, or any other occupation declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor. (See list of hazardous occupations).

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ( provides detailed information on safety standards, technical advisors, compliance assistance, and many other materials.

Employment and Training Administration (ETA) ( which seeks to build up the labor market through the training of the workforce and the placement of workers in jobs through employment services.

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