FLSA Child Labor Laws – 16 and 17 Year Olds


The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits employers from employing oppressive child labor. 29 US Code 212(c) Oppressive child labor for youth between the ages of 16 and 18 includes any occupations that the US Department of Labor finds and declares to be particularly hazardous or detrimental to their health or welfare. 29 US Code 203(l)(2); 29 CFR 570.117; 29 CFR 570.118; 29 CFR 570.120 The specifics of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s regulation of the employment of 16 and 17 year olds are discussed below.



Occupations 16 and 17 year olds may not perform

Under the child labor laws of the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers may employ 16 and 17 year olds for any job unless it has been deemed particularly hazardous for such youth or detrimental to their health or well-being. 29 US Code 203(l)(2); 29 CFR 570.118; 29 CFR 570.120 The following is a list of the occupations the US Department of Labor has deemed to be particularly hazardous for 16 and 17 year olds or detrimental to their health or well-being and which 16 and 17 year olds may not perform the following work:

  • manufacturing or storing explosives or articles containing explosive components (see more)
  • motor-vehicle driver and outside helper (see more)
  • coal mine occupations (see more)
  • forest fire fighting and prevention, timber tract occupations, and forestry service occupations (see more)
  • logging occupations (see more)
  • operating sawmills, lath mills, shingle mills, or cooperage stock mills (see more)
  • work involving exposure to radioactive substances and to ionizing radiations (see more)
  • operating power-driven hoisting apparatus (see more)
  • operating power-driven metal forming, punching, and shearing machines (see more)
  • mining (see more)
  • operating power-driven meat-processing machines and occupations involving slaughtering, meat and poultry packing, processing, or rendering (see more)
  • operating of bakery machines (see more)
  • operating balers, compactors, and paper-products machines (see more)
  • manufacturing brick, tile, and kindred products (see more)
  • operating circular saws, band saws, guillotine shears, chain saws, reciprocating saws, wood chippers, and abrasive cutting discs (see more)
  • operating power-driven wood working machines (see more
  • wrecking, demolition, and shipbreaking operations (see more)
  • roofing operations and on or about a roof (see more)
  • excavation operations (see more)

29 CFR 570.51-570.68


Age certification

Employers who employ minors are not in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s child labor laws if they keep on file unexpired certificates of age for each minor employed. 29 US Code 203(l)(2); 29 CFR 570.5(a); 29 CFR 570.38; 29 CFR 570.121 For more information, visit our page on Age Certificates.