New York Child Labor Laws

New York child labor laws regulate the employment of youth in the state of New York. These laws dictate the ages and the times as well as the types of work minors may perform.

Youth who are 16 and 17 years old may work in a broad range of jobs but cannot work in jobs that have been determined to be too dangerous, hazardous, or inappropriate.

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.

Generally, children 13 years old or younger may not work in New York, except in some limited situations.


What are the work rules for 16- and 17-year-old youth? 

New York child labor laws allow youth that are 16- or 17-years-old to work with the exceptions discussed in the sections below.  In most situations when 16- or 17-year-olds are allowed to work, they must:

  • have an employment certificate and
  • only work during hours when they are not required to be in school.

NY Labor Law 132

What are the day, time, and hour work restrictions for 16- and 17-year-old youth? 

When school is in session

When school is in session and not enrolled in a work study program, minors who are 16- and 17-years-old may work no more than:

  • Four (4) hours on any day preceding a school day other than Sunday or a holiday except for youth enrolled in a cooperative work experience program who may work six (6) hours in the program
  • Eight (8) hours on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or holiday
  • Twenty-eight (28) hours in a workweek
  • Six (6) days in a workweek

Also, on any day preceding a school day, 16- and 17-year-olds may not work before 6:00 a.m. or after 10:00 p.m. except the youth may work until midnight (12:00 a.m.) if they receive and maintain:

  • The written consent of a parent or guardian and
  • A certificate provided to the employer at the end of each school marking period that the youth is in satisfactory academic standing as established by their school district

On any day preceding a non-school day, 16- and 17-year-olds may not work before 6:00 a.m. or after 10:00 p.m. unless they have the written consent from a parent or guardian that permits them to work until midnight (12:00 a.m.).

When minors are enrolled in a work-study program when school is in session, minors who are 16- and 17-years-old may work no more than:

  • Three (3) hours on any school day
  • Eight (8) hours on any day when school is not session
  • Twenty-three (23) hours in a workweek
  • Six (6) days in a workweek

Also, 16- and 17-years-olds enrolled in a work-study program may not work before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. on any given day.

NY Labor Law 143

When school is not in session

When school is not in session or when the youth is not enrolled in a daytime school, minors who are 16- and 17-years-old may work no more than:

  • Eight (8) hours in a day except a youth may work longer days as follows:
    • ten (10) hours on a single day in a workweek and nine (9) hours on any of the other four (4) workdays with the total hours worked in a workweek not exceeding 48 hours.
  • Forty (40) hours in a workweek
  • Six (6) days in a workweek

NY Labor Law 143

Are there any exceptions to the day, time, and hour work restrictions for 16- and 17-year-old youth?

New York labor laws allow for the following exceptions or adjustments to the day, time, and hour work restrictions for 16- and 17-year-old youth:

  • when employed solely as a singer or performer in a hotel or restaurant;
  • when employed in a resort, seasonal hotel, or restaurant in a rural community, city, or village having a population of fewer than fifteen thousand (15,000) inhabitants, excluding that portion of the population of a third-class city that resides outside of its corporation tax district that embraces the entire area of a former township.
    • The term “resort” applies to a hotel or restaurant that operates for not more than four (4) calendar months and fifteen (15) days in a year
    • The term “seasonal” applies to a hotel or restaurant whose number of employees increases by at least one hundred percent (100%) from its slack season to the busiest season;
  • when employed in or in connection with a beauty parlor in cities and
    villages have populations fewer than fifteen thousand (15,000);
  • when employed in or in connection with a mercantile establishment during the following periods:
    • from December 18 to the following December 24, inclusive;
    • one (1) seven (7) consecutive day period from December 4 to December 23, inclusive, selected by an employer by filing written notice with the commissioner on or before December 1 designating the days selected.  An employer with one more or more establishments may select the designated days for one or more of the establishments; and
    • two (2) seven (7) consecutive day periods each year for the purpose of taking inventory with each period not exceeding one week’s duration.
    • For seven (7) consecutive day periods selected by an employer, the youth’s work hours may not exceed a total of six (6) hours if the minor is employed on an eight (8)-hour-day basis, or five (5)  hours if employed ten (10) hours on one day and nine (9) hours on any of four (4) other days of the week, in addition to the hours otherwise permitted
  • When employed as a writer or reporter in a newspaper office
  • When employed by a duly recognized florist on the day before Easter Sunday, on Easter Sunday morning, or December 23.
  • When employed to help maintain aircraft by a licensed airline through a work-study or job trainee program recognized by state or local educational authority, or through a course of study conducted by a private school or through a training program that is publicly funded in whole or in part and is in a substantially similar to state or local educational programs
  • When employed as a junior counselor, counselor in training or counselor at a camp for children during the months of June, July and August.
  • When 17 years old and employed as an election inspector or poll clerk under NY Election Law

NY Labor Law 143

In what occupations can 16- and 17-year-old youth not work? 

Unless other permitted as discussed below, New York child labor laws prohibit youth under the age of 18 from working the following occupations:

  • caring or operating a freight or passenger elevator, except operating automatic push button control elevators;
  • in connection with the manufacturing, packaging, or storing of explosives;
  • operating or using any emery, tripoli, rouge, corundum, stone, silicon carbide, or any abrasive, or emery polishing or buffing wheel, where articles of the baser metals or iridium are manufactured;
  • in penal or correctional institutions, if such employment relates to the custody or care of prisoners or incarcerated individuals;
    e. adjusting belts to machinery
  • cleaning, oiling, or wiping machinery;
  • packing paints, dry colors, or red or white leads;
  • preparing any composition in which dangerous or poisonous acids are used;
  • operating steam boilers subject to section two hundred four of this chapter;
  • any occupation at construction work, including wrecking, demolition, roofing, or excavating operations and the painting or exterior cleaning of a building structure from an elevated surface;
  • any occupation involving exposure to radioactive substances or ionizing radiation, or exposure to silica or other harmful dust;
  • logging occupations and occupations in the operation of any sawmill, lath mill, shingle mill, or cooperage-stock mill;
  • any occupation in or in connection with a mine or quarry;
  • any occupation involved in the operation of power-driven woodworking, metal-forming, metal-punching, metal-shearing, bakery, and paper products machines;
  • any occupation involved in the operation of circular saws, bandsaws, and guillotine shears;
  • any occupation in or about a slaughter and meat-packing establishment, or rendering plant;
  • any occupation involved in the operation of power-driven hoisting apparatus;
  • any occupation involved in the manufacture of brick, tile, and kindred products;
  • as a helper on a motor vehicle;
  • as a dancer or performer in any portion of a facility open to the public wherein performers appear and dance or otherwise perform unclothed, under circumstances in which such employment would be harmful to such person in the manner defined in subdivision six of section 235.20 of the penal law.

New York permits 16- and 17-year-olds to perform any of the work listed above if they are:

  • an apprentice who is individually registered in an apprenticeship program that is properly registered;
  • a student-learner enrolled in a course of study and training in a cooperative vocational training program under a recognized state or local educational authority or a substantially similar program conducted by a private school;
  • a trainee in an approved on-the-job training program approved;
  • a minor who is employed in the occupation in which he has completed training as a student-learner or as a trainee;
  • a minor who is employed in the occupation in which he has completed an approved work training program

NY Labor Law 133


What are the work rules for 14- and 15-year-old youth? 

New York labor laws allow youth that are 14 or 15 years old to work with the exceptions discussed in the sections below.  In most situations when 14- or 15-year-olds are allowed to work, they must:

Youth that are 14- and 15-years-old may also work in dry cleaning stores, tailor shops, shoe repair shops, and other similar shops that clean, press, alter, repair, or dye articles or goods as long as the work performed does not involve dangerous machinery, equipment, or chemical processes.

NY Lab Law 131

Youth who are 15 years of age and is found to not be capable of profiting from additional schooling may be granted a special employment certificate permitting the youth to work during regular school hours. NY Educ. Law 3225

Minors who are 14- and 15-years-old may perform work consistent with NY Fam. Law 353.6.

What are the day, time, and hour work restrictions for 14- and 15-year-old youth? 

In New York, there are different day, time, and hour work restrictions for 14- and 15-year-old youth depending on whether school is in session or not.

When school is in session

When school is in session and not enrolled in a work study program, minors who are 14- and 15-years-old may work no more than:

  • Three (3) hours on any school day
  • Eight (8) hours on any day when school is not session
  • Eighteen (18) hours in a workweek
  • Six (6) days in a workweek

Also, 14- and 15-years-olds may not work before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. on any given day.

When minors are enrolled in a work study program when school is in session, minors who are 14- and 15-years-old may work no more than:

  • Three (3) hours on any school day
  • Eight (8) hours on any day when school is not session
  • Twenty-three (23) hours in a workweek
  • Six (6) days in a workweek

Also, 14- and 15-years-olds enrolled in a work-study program may not work before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. on any given day.

When school is not in session

When school is not in session, minors who are 14- and 15-years-old may work no more than:

  • Eight (8) hours in a day
  • Forty (40) hours in a workweek
  • Six (6) days in a workweek

Also, 14- and 15-years olds may not work before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. on any given day except:

  • Between June 21 and Labor Day youth may work until 9:00 p.m.
  • When the youth works as a junior counselor or counselor-in-training at a children’s camp during June, July, and August.

Youth who are 14 or 15 may work during school hours if they work at the school cafeteria  at the school they attend. NY Labor Law 131

In what occupations can 14- and 15-year-old youth not work? 

New York child labor laws prohibit 14- and 15-year-olds from working the following occupations:

  • Any work 16- and 17-year-olds may not perform
  • painting or exterior cleaning in connection with maintaining a building or structure;
  • in or in connection with factories except for clerical work and light deliveries and the office where the work is performed is enclosed and separate from the manufacturing area.
  • work in dry cleaning stores, tailor shops, shoe repair shops, and other similar shops that clean, press, alter, repair, or dye articles or goods that involves dangerous machinery, equipment, or chemical processes.
  • operation of washing, grinding, cutting, slicing, pressing or mixing machinery;
  • work in institutions in the department of mental hygiene unless the youth’s work involves participation in recreation and leisure activities, social skills development, companionship and/or entertainment as part of an organized volunteer program approved by NY’s commissioner of mental hygiene

NY Labor Law 131, NY Labor Law 133, NY Reg. 12: 185.2


What are the work rules for youth 13-years-old or younger? 

In New York, employers generally may not hire youth who are 13-years-old and younger.  The only instances where employees may employ minors who are 13-years-old and younger include minors:

  • Child performers and models
  • Newspaper carrier
    • 11, 12, or 13-years-olds working as a newspaper carrier consistent with NY Educ. Law 3228.
  • Home farm or other outdoor work
    • 12 or 13-years-old and are employed by a parent or guardian either on the home farm or at other outdoor work not connected with or for any trade, business, or service
    • are not otherwise required to be in school consistent with NY Educ. Law.
  • Harvesting work
    • 12 or 13 years of age
    • the minor is accompanied by a parent or has presented the written consent of a parent or party with whom he or she resides to the employer
    • assists in the handwork harvest of berries, fruits, and vegetables
    • outside school hours consistent with
    • works no more than a period of four (4) hours in any workday
    • between:
      • 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from the first day after Labor Day through June 21
      • 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. from June 21 and Labor Day of the same calendar year.
  • Farm produce sells work
    • 12 or 13 years of age who
    • are accompanied by the parent or guardian or has presented the written consent of the parent or guardian
    • works with school is not in session
    • assists a parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or guardian who sale the produce from
      • a farm that is owned or leased by the parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or guardian,
    • a farm stand or farmer’s market stand that is owned or leased by the minor’s parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or guardian,
  • Bridge caddie
    • 12 or 13 years of age who work as a bridge caddie at a bridge tournament and are not otherwise required to be in school consistent with the NY Educ. Law.
  • exempt by NY Fam. Law 353.6

Do minors need an employment certificate before they can work?

New York child labor laws require youth under the age of 18 to obtain an employment certificate to work in New York.  The types of employment certificate youth must obtain depends on their age, what times of the year they work, and/or the occupation in which they work.  For example, minors who are 14 or 15 need a different employment certificate than 16- and 17-year-olds.

Youth may find out more information about how to obtain an employment department by contacting the NY Department of Labor. NY DOL: Youth Working Papers

What are an employer’s obligations regarding employment certificates?

Before an employer can employ a minor, it must obtain a copy of the youth’s employment certificate.  The employer must keep a copy of the youth’s employment certificate on file and readily accessible so that it may be examined when requested by an authorized individual.

Employers who employ individuals that appear to be under 18-years-old may only employ the individual if the individual has an age certificate or can produce sufficient documentation, such as a drivers’ license, that the individual is 18 years old or older.

Employers who employ minors whose certificate indicates that it has a physical disability may only employ the youth for six (6) months from the date of issuance of the certificate.

NY Labor Law 135, NY Labor Law 136, NY Labor Law 138

The employment certificate rules for employers apply to employment agencies that place youth to work for contracting employers. NY Labor Law 134, NY Labor Law 135

Are there times when youth may work without an age certificate?

New York child labor laws allow 14-, 15-, 16-, and 17-year-old youths to work without an employment certificate in the following situations:

  • Golf course caddy
  • Babysitting where the minor staying at the home with a younger child whose parent(s) or guardian(s) are not present
  • Casual performing yard work or household chores, but not using power-driven machinery, for a non-profit, non-commercial entity
  • Assisting selling produce at a farm stand or farmer’s market stand that is owned or leased by the minor’s parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or guardian and their parent or guardian has provided written consent
  • Bridge tournament caddie
  • Work for a parent or guardian on a home farm or at other outdoor work note connected to a trade, business, or service

Also, New York child labor laws allow 16- and 17-year-olds to work without an employment certificate when they work on a farm.

NY Labor Law 131; NY Labor Law 132

Can an employment certificate be denied or canceled if a minor is physically unfit to work?

The NY Department of Labor may require 16- or 17-year-old youth to subject themselves to a fitness inspection by a medical inspector.  If the medical inspector concludes that the youth is unfit for the work for which they have been hired and the Department of Labor accepts the inspector’s conclusion, the Department of Labor may either deny or cancel the youth’s employment certificate.  If a youth refuses to subject themselves to a medical inspection, the employment certificate may be denied or canceled. NY Labor Law 139


Are there any scheduling, posting, or notice requirements for employers?

Under New York child labor laws, employers are required to make a schedule for all its minors setting forth the starting, stopping, and meal break times unless not possible as discussed below.  Employers must keep a copy of the schedule conspicuously posted in each establishment where the minors work.  Before an employer may change the work schedule for youth, they must first post the new work schedule.

In factories where is it impossible to establish a work schedule in advance, it may request that the NY Department of Labor dispense with the poster requirement.  If the requested permit is granted, the employer instead is required to keep a time book showing the name and address of all minor employees and the hours worked each day by them.  The time book must be kept for six years.  Also, the employer must post the permit conspicuously in the factory.

NY Labor Law 144


Are there any industries that have special work rules for minors? 

What are the child labor work rules for minors in the entertainment industry? 

New York law provides specific work rules for child performers.  NY Labor Law 140, NY Labor Law 150-154-A, NY Art and Cultural Affairs 35.01

What are the child labor work rules regarding work as a newspaper carrier?

 New York law provides specific work rules for youth that work as newspaper carriers. NY Labor Law 131, NY Labor Law 140

What are the child labor work rules for street trades?

New York law provides specific work rules for youth that work in street trades.  NY Labor Law 140, NY Educ. Law 3227


What are the civil and criminal penalties for employers?

Employers who do not comply with New York’s child labor laws may be subject to civil penalties and/or criminal penalties.

What are the civil penalties?

If the NY Department of Labor determines that an employer has violated child labor laws, it may impose a criminal penalty on the employer as follows:

  • Fist violation – up to $1,000
  • Second violation – up to $2,000
  • Third or more violation – up to $3,000
  • Violation and a minor is seriously injured or dies – Three times the maximum penalty allowed

When determining the penalty amount, the NY Department of Labor will consider:

  • the size of the employer’s business,
  • the good faith of the employer
  • the gravity of the violation
  • the history of previous violations
  • failing to comply with recordkeeping or other requirements

What are the criminal penalties?

An employer, including its officers or agent, that knowingly violated New York child labor laws is guilty of a misdemeanor.  If convicted, the employer may be punished by:

  • First offense – a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than sixty days or both
  • Second and subsequent offense – a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than one (1) year or both

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