FLSA Child Labor Law Exceptions
The Fair Labor Standards Act provides for several exceptions from its child labor restrictions. 29 US Code 213(c)(1) The following is a discussion of those exceptions.
The Fair Labor Standards Act allows employers to employee youth in agriculture, without restriction, if the youth is only employed outside of the school hours set by the school district in which the child resides and one of the following standards is met:
- the youth is less than 12 years of age and:
- works for a parent, or a person standing in the place of a parent, on a farm owned by a parent or person standing in the place of a parent, or
- work with the consent of a parent or person standing in the place of a parent on a farm where none of the employees are required to paid to the federal minimum wage pursuant to section 206 of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
- the youth is twelve or thirteen years of age and:
- works with the consent of a parent or person standing in the place of a parent, or
- a parent or person standing in the place of a parent works on the same farm.
- the youth is 14 years old or older and does not work in an agricultural occupation that the US Department of Labor has deemed to be particularly hazardous to youth below the age of 16 (see Hazardous Agricultural Occupations for Children under 16 Years Old)
For purpose of this restriction on youth employment, agriculture means farming in all its branches including but not limited to:
- cultivating and tilling soil
- producing, cultivating, growing, and harvesting any agricultural or horticultural commodities (including commodities defined as agricultural commodities in section 15(g) of the Agricultural Marketing Act, as amended)
- raising livestock, bees, fur-bearing animals, or poultry
- any practices, including any forestry or lumbering operations, performed by a farmer or on a farm that are incidental to or performed in conjunction with farming operationss, including preparation for market, delivery to storage or to market or to carriers for transportation to market
Child actors or performers in motion picture, theatrical, radio, or television productions
Children working as actors or performers in motion picture, theatrical, radio, or television productions are exempt from the federal exemption on youth labor. 29 US Code 213(c)(3) The term performer include any youth who performs a distinctive, personalizes service in a production such as an actor, singer, dancer, musician, comedian, or any other person who entertains audiences by acting, singing, dancing, reading, narrating, performing feats of skill, or announcing, or describing or relating facts, events, or other matters of interest, and who actively participates in the presentation of the production. 29 CFR 570.125; see also 29 CFR 550.2(b)
Hand harvest laborers in agricultural operations
An employer or group of employers may apply to the US Department of Labor for a waiver of the the Fair Labor Standard Act’s child labor law provisions which would permit 10 and 11 year olds to work as hand harvest laborers in an agricularal operation. The waiver cannot last for not more than eight weeks in any calendar year. To qualify for the waiver, the following criteria must be met:
- the work performed is customarily and generally recognized as being paid on a piece rate basis in the region in which the youth would be employed;
- the crop to be harvested has a particularly short harvesting season;
- the application of the Fair Labor Standard Act’s child labor law provisions would cause severe economic disruption in the industry of the employer or group of employers applying for the waiver;
- the employment of the youth is not harmful to their health or well-being;
- the level and type of pesticides and other chemicals used will not have an adverse effect on the health or well-being of the youth to whom the waiver would apply;
- there are no individual available for the work who are age twelve and above; and
- the industry of the employer or group of employers has traditionally and substantially employed individuals under twelve years of age without displacing substantial job opportunities for individuals over sixteen years of age.
If the waiver is granted by the US Department of Labor, the following restriction would apply:
- the youth must be employed outside of school hours for the school district where they are living;
- the youth must commute daily from their permanent residence to the farm on which they are employed; and
- the youth may not be employed for not more than eight weeks between June 1 and October 15 of any calendar year, and in accordance with such other terms and conditions the US Department of Labor prescribes for the youth’s protection.
Children who are engaged in newspaper delivery are exempt from any federal restrictions on youth labor. 29 US Code 213(d) Newspaper delivery includes making deliveries to homes of subscribers or other consumers as well as street selling. It does not include hauling newspapers to drop stations, distributing centers, newstands, or other similar locations. 29 CFR 570.124
Youth working as homeworkers engaged in making wreaths composed principally of natural holly, pine, cedar, or other evergreens (including the harvesting of the evergreens or other forest products used in making such wreaths) are exempt from federal child labor restrictions.
29 US Code 213(d); 29 CFR 570.127
Youth employed by their parents or persons standing in the place of their parents are exempt from federal child labor restrictions except in occupations in manufacturing, mining, or other occupations found by the US Department of Labor to be particularly hazardous to children under the age of 18 (see see particularly hazardous occupations for children under 18). 29 US Code 203(l)(1); 29 US Code 570.126