Ohio Child Labor Laws


Ohio child labor laws regulate the employment of youth in the state of Ohio. These laws dictate the ages and the times as well as the types of work they may perform. Generally, speaking children 13 years old or younger may not work in Ohio, except in some limited situations. Youth who are 14 and 15 years old may work in a broader range of jobs, but are significantly limited in the number of hours per day and per week they may work, especially when school is in session. Youth who are 16 and 17 years old may work in a broad range jobs, but cannot work in those jobs that have been explicitly deemed to be too hazardous. The detail of Ohio’s child labor laws are discussed below.





Definition of minor

Ohio child labor laws define a minor as any person less than 18 years old. OH Code 4109.01(D)



Age and schooling certificate

Ohio child labor laws require any youth who are of compulsory school age to obtain an age and schooling certificate before they may be employed and an employer may not employ a youth without first obtaining a the youth’s age and schooling certificate. The age and schooling certificate certifies the age of the minor and allows an employer to employ the minor in any permissible occupation based on the employee’s age. OH Code 4109.02(A); 4109.03 Youth are of a compulsory school age if they are between 6 and 18 years old or under six years old and enrolled in kindergarten. OH Code 3321.01(A)(1) For more information, visit our Ohio Child Labor Laws – Age and Schooling Certificates page.



Hours of work

Ohio child labor laws establishes the number of hours in a workday and workweek and the time during the day youth may work as follows:

  • 14 and 15 year olds
    • while school is in session
      • no more than 3 hours on a school day
      • no more than 8 hours on a non-school day
      • no more than 18 hours per week, unless the 14 or 15 year old youth is enrolled in a bona fide program of vocational cooperative training, work-study, or other work-oriented program in which case the youth may work in excess of 40 hours per week
      • not before 7:00 a.m.
      • not after 7:00 p.m. between September 1 and June 1, except during school holidays lasting 5 or more school days during which they may work until 9:00 p.m.
    • while school is out of session
      • no more than 8 hours per day
      • no more than 40 hours per week
      • not before 7:00 a.m.
      • not after 9:00 p.m.
  • 16 and 17 year olds
    • while school is in session (if the 16 or 17 year old is required to attend school)
      • not before 7:00 a.m., except when the youth did not work past 8:00 p.m. the previous night in which case the youth may start not before 6:00 a.m.
      • not after 11:00 p.m. on any night before a school day
      • there are no restrictions on the number of hours 16 and 17 year olds may work in a workday or a workweek

OH Code 4109.07

The following youth are not subject to the time and/or hour restrictions under the following circumstances:

  • a minor who is 16 or 17 and who has been adjudicated to be an unruly or delinquent child and who has been placed on probation may either file a petition in the juvenile court in whose jurisdiction the minor resides or apply to the superintendent or to the chief administrative officer who issued the minor’s age and schooling certificate, alleging the time and hour restrictions will cause a substantial hardship or are not in the minor’s best interests. Upon receipt of a petition or application, the court, the superintendent, or the chief administrative officer shall consult with the person required to supervise the minor on probation and determine whether to deny the youth’s request or grant the request either in whole or in part, designating the hours and times the youth may work
  • a minor who is 16 or 17 who has not been adjudicated to be an unruly child or delinquent child may either file a petition in the juvenile court in whose jurisdiction the youth resides or apply to the superintendent or to the chief administrative officer who issued the minor’s age and schooling certificate alleging the time and hour restrictions cause a substantial hardship or are not in the minor’s best interests. Upon receipt of the petition or application, the court, the superintendent, or the chief administrative officer will determine whether the deny the youth’s request or grant the request either in whole or in part, designating the hours and times the youth may work

OH Code 4109.06(C)



Notice of wages

Ohio child labor laws require employers to provide youth employees before the youth begin employment a written statement containing the youth’s wage rate or other agreed-upon compensation method.

Employers must also provide youth employees with a state of earnings on or before each payday indicating the about of earning due to the employee and the amount that will be paid.

Additionally, employers must provide youth employees at least 24-hours notice before reducing wages or other compensation and the employer must provide the youth employee with a new written statement containing the youth’s reduced wage rate or other agreed-upon compensation.
OH Code 4109.10(A)



Hazardous or detrimental occupations

Ohio child labor laws prohibit employers from employing youth in any occupations that have been deemed to be hazardous or detrimental to the health and well-being of youth. OH Code 4109.05 For more information, visit our Ohio Child Labor Laws – Hazardous and Detrimental Occupations page.



Exemptions

Ohio child labor laws do not apply to the following:

  • minors who are students working on any properly guarded machines in the manual training department of any school when the work is performed under the personal supervision of an instructor
  • minors participating in a vocational program approved by the Ohio department of education
  • minors participating in a play, pageant, or concert produced by an outdoor historical drama corporation, a professional traveling theatrical production, a professional concert tour, or a personal appearance tour as a professional motion picture star, or as an actor or performer in motion pictures or in radio or television productions so long as the minor does not work in an occupation that has been deemed to be hazardous or detrimental to the health and well-being of youth 17 years old and younger
  • minors participating for free and with the consent of a parent or guardian in a performance given by a church, school, or academy, or at a concert or entertainment given solely for charitable purposes, or by a charitable or religious institution
  • minors who are employed by their parents in occupations other than occupations prohibited as dangerous or detrimental to the health and well-being of youth
  • minors engaged in the delivery of newspapers to the consumer
  • minors who have received a high school diploma or a certificate of attendance from an accredited secondary school or a certificate of high school equivalence
  • minors who are currently heads of households or are parents contributing to the support of their children
  • minors engaged in lawn mowing, snow shoveling, and other related employment
  • minors employed in agricultural employment in connection with farms operated by their parents, grandparents, or guardians where they are members of the guardians’ household
  • minors participating in a program to serve as precinct officers as authorized by section Ohio Code 3501.22

OH Code 4109.06(A)



Meals and breaks

Ohio child labor laws require employers to provide youth who work more than 5 consecutive hours a rest period of at least 30 minutes. The rest period may be unpaid. OH Code 4109.07(C)



Posting requirements

Ohio child labor laws require employers to post:

  • a list of all minors it employs at a particular establishment
  • a summary of Ohio’s child labor laws, as provided by the Ohio’s Department of Commerce

The list and child labor law summary must be posted in plain view in a conspicuous place which is frequented by the largest number of minor employees and to which all minor employees have access. OH Code 4109.08(A)



Wage deductions

Ohio child labor laws prohibit employers from deducting the following from an youth employee’s wages:

  • presumed negligence
  • failure to comply with rules
  • breakage of machinery
  • alleged incompetence to produce work or perform according to any standard of merit

OH Code 4109.10(B)



Recordkeeping

Ohio child labor laws require employers to keep the following records for two years for each of their youth employees:

  • the youth’s name
  • the youth’s address
  • the youth’s occupation
  • the number of hours worked by each minor on each day of the week
  • the hours of beginning and ending work
  • the hours of beginning and ending meal periods
  • the amount of wages paid each pay period to each minor

Employers must permit representatives for Ohio’s Department of Commerce to access and copy any records related to youth employees upon request.
OH Code 4109.11



Penalties

Employers who violate Ohio child labor laws are guilty of criminal offenses as follows:

  • minor misdemeanor
    • violations of rest period, age and schooling certificate, and recordkeeping requirements
    • first violations of time and hour, nonuse notification, and written wage notice requirements
    • employing a minor after being notified that the minor is being employed in violation of the child labor laws (a misdemeanor offense occurs for each day the employer continues this violation)
  • fourth degree misdemeanor – the first time an employer fails to register with the Department of Commerce when employing youth under 16 year of age in door-to-door sales
  • third degree misdemeanor
    • violations of employing youth in hazardous or detrimental occupations
    • violations, other than the first, of time and hour, nonuse notification, and written wage notice requirements
  • first degrees misdemeanor – other than the first time, when an employer fails to register with the Department of Commerce when employing youth under 16 year of age in door-to-door sales, unless during the first violation aggravating circumstances existed including, but not limited to, threats to a minor, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, or abandonment of or endangerment to a minor that do not rise to the level of a felony
  • fourth degree felony – other than the first time, when fails to register with the Department of Commerce when employing youth under 16 year of age in door-to-door sales and aggravating circumstances existed including, but not limited to, threats to a minor, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, or abandonment of or endangerment to a minor that do not by themselves rise to the level of a felony

OH Code 4109.99