Agriculture Student-Learner – Child Labor Exception


The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits employers from employing youth under the age of 16 in agricultural occupations that are particularly hazardous for youth under the age of 16, except in limited circumstances listed below. However, this restriction on youth employment for particularly hazardous agricultural occupations for minors under the age of 16 does not apply when the minor is employed as a vocational agriculture student-learner in any of the following occupations:

  • corn picker, cotton picker, grain combine, hay mower, forage harvester, hay baler, potato digger, or mobile pea viner
  • feed grinder, crop dryer, forage blower, auger conveyor, or the unloading mechanism of a nongravity-type self-unloading wagon or trailer
  • power post-hole digger, power post driver, or nonwalking type rotary tiller
  • trencher or earthmoving equipment
  • fork lift
  • potato combine
  • power-driven circular, band, or chain saw
  • working on a farm in a yard, pen, or stall occupied by a:
    • bull, boar, or stud horse maintained for breeding purposes
    • sow with suckling pigs, or cow with newborn calf (with umbilical cord present)
    • felling, bucking, skidding, loading, or unloading timber with butt diameter of more than 6 inches
    • working from a ladder or scaffold painting, repairing, or building structures, pruning trees, picking fruit, etc., at a height of over 20 feet

29 CFR 570.72(a)



To qualify for this exception, the following criteria must be met:

  • the student-learner is enrolled in a vocational agricultural education training program under a recognized State or local educational authority, or in a substantially similar program conducted by a private school;
  • the student-learner works under a written agreement which provides:
    • that the agricultural work performed by the student-learner is incidental to his training;
    • that such work is intermittent, for short periods of time, and under the direct and close supervision of a qualified and experienced person;
    • that safety instruction are given by the school and correlated by the employer with on-the-job training; and
    • that a schedule of organized and progressive work processes to be performed on the job have been prepared;
  • the written agreement contains the name of the student-learner, and is signed by the employer and by a person authorized to represent the educational authority or school; and
  • the written agreement is kept on file by both the school and by the employer.

29 CFR 570.72(a)