Child Labor Laws – Fair Labor Standards Act


In addition to its minimum wage and overtime provisions, the Fair Labor Standards Act contains laws governing when an employer may or may not employ child. A child for purposes of these child labor laws is any individual under the age of 18. 29 US Code 203(l)

The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits employers from engaging in any oppressive child labor practices in commerce, in the production of goods for commerce, in any enterprise engaged in commerce, or any enterprise engaged in the production of goods for commerce. 29 US Code 212(c) Oppressive child labor, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, is defined as the employment of any minor in any occupation for which he or she does not meet the minimum ages standards set forth in the Act. 29 CFR 570.1(b)




Different rules for different age groups of youth

Child labor laws under the Fair Labor Standards Act set different rules for minors in three different age groups:



Age certificates

As a protection against child labor law claims, employer may insist that youth provide a valid age certificate issued by the Wage and Hour Division of the US Department of Labor. If an employer has a valid age certificate which indicates the employee is an appropriate age for the work performed, it is presumed that they are compliant with the child labor laws age restrictions. For more information about age certificates, visit Age Certificates – FLSA Child Labor Laws



Enforcement and fines

Individuals who are found to have willfully violated the child labor restriction of the Fair Labor Standards Act may be subject to both criminal and civil penalties. For more information about enforcement and fines related to child labor law violations, visit Enforcement and Fines – FLSA Child Labor Laws