Drivers and Outside Helpers – FLSA Child Labor Laws

The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits employers from employing any child under 18 years of age in the occupations of motor-vehicle driver and outside helper because they are considered to be particularly hazardous or detrimental to youth health or welfare.

Exceptions to Minors Working as Drivers and Outside Helpers

Minor who are 16 or 17 may generally work as drivers and outside helpers except in the circumstances listed below:

29 CFR 570.52(a)

Incidental and occasion driving by 17 year olds

Youth who are 17 years old or older may drive automobiles and trucks on public roadways when each of the following criteria is met:

  • the vehicle does not exceed 6,000 pounds gross vehicle weight;
  • the vehicle is equipped with seat belts or similar restraining devices for the driver and passengers and the minor has been told to use the seat belts;
  • driving is restricted to daylight hours;
  • the minor has a state driver’s license valid for the type of driving involved;
  • the minor does not have any records of moving violations at the time of hire;
  • the driving does not involve:
    • towing vehicles;
    • route deliveries or route sales;
    • the transportation for hire of property, goods, or passengers;
    • urgent, time-sensitive deliveries; or
    • transportation at any time of more than three passengers, including the employees of the employer.
  • the driving does not involve more than two trips away from the primary place of employment in any single day for the purpose of delivering goods of the minor’s employer to a customer (except urgent, time-sensitive deliveries which minors are completely banned from performing);
  • the driving does not involve more than two trips away from the primary place of employment in a single day from the purpose of transporting passengers (other than the employees of the employer);
  • the driving takes place within a thirty (30) mile radius of the minor’s place of employment; and
  • the driving is only occasional and incidental to the minor’s employment.

29 US Code 213(c)(6); 29 CFR 570.52(b); 29 CFR 570.129

Motor Vehicle

For purposes of this limitation on youth employment, a motor vehicle includes any automobile, truck, truck-tractor, trailer, semitrailer, motorcycle, or similar vehicle. It does not include vehicles operated exclusively on rails. 29 CFR 570.52(c)(1)

Driver and outside helper

A driver is any individual who drivers a motor vehicle at any time in the course of employment. 29 CFR 570.52(c)(2) A outside helper is an individual, other than a driver, who rides on a motor vehicle outside the cab for purposes of assisting in transporting or delivering goods. 29 CFR 570.52(c)(3)

Gross vehicle weight

Gross vehicle weight includes the truck chassis with lubricants, water, and a full tank or tanks of fuel, plus the weight of the cab or driver’s compartment, body and special chassis and body equipment, and payload. 29 CFR 570.52(c)(4)

Occasional and incidental driving

A youth’s driving is occasional and incidental if the youth drives no more than one-third of the youth’s worktime in any workday and no more than 20 percent of the youth’s worktime in a workweek. 29 CFR 570.52(c)(5)

Urgent, time-sensitive deliveries

Seventeen-year-olds are prohibited from making urgent, time-sensitive deliveries. Deliveries are urgent and time-sensitive if customer satisfaction, rapid deterioration of the quality or change in temperature of the product, and/or economic incentives are subject to time-lines, schedules, and/or turn-around times which might impel the driver to hurry in the completion of the delivery. Whether a delivery is urgent and time-sensitive does not depend on the place the delivery begins or where it ends, and includes delivery of people and things to the employer’s place of business as well as from the employer’s place of business to another location. Examples of prohibited urgent, time-sensitive deliveries include, but are not limited to:

  • delivery of pizza or other prepared food
  • delivery of materials under a deadline, such as bank deposits at closing
  • shuttling of passengers to and from transportation depots to meet transportation schedules

29 CFR 570.52(c)(6)

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 which shows the minor is the appropriate age for the work being performed, even if the child turns out not to be the appropriate age. 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.

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