North Carolina Child Labor Laws


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North Carolina child labor laws set forth the rules and limitations regarding the days and time children under the age of 18 years old may work in North Carolina. They also clarify and limit the types of work children under the age of 14 and youth who are 14, 15, 16, and 17 year olds may work. It is also important to remember that businesses and youth workers must comply with the federal child labor laws set forth in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Below is information about North Carolina child labor law rules and limitations.

How old do you have to be to work in North Carolina?

Under North Carolina child labor laws, youth must be 14-years-old or older to get a job and work in North Carolina with a few exceptions.

North Carolina child labor laws allows 12-year-olds and 13-year-olds to work outside school hours in the delivering newspapers for up to 3 hours each workday.

Also, the North Carolina Department of Labor may grant children under the age of 14 and issues them an employment certificate if:

  • a social worker, court, probation officer, county department of social services, a letter from the North Carolina Alcohol Beverage Control Commission or school official provides a letter stating the factors that create a hardship situation for the child and how the best interest of the youth is served by allowing a waiver
  • the health or safety of the youth would not be adversely affected; and
  • a parent, guardian, or other person standing in loco parentis consents in writing to the proposed employment.

NC Statute 95-25.5, NC Department of Labor – Youth Employment Rules


What days can a minor work in North Carolina?

North Carolina child labor laws do not limit the days of the week youth may work in North Carolina. However, North Carolina rules limit the times during a day a minor may work. NC Statute 95-25.5, NC Department of Labor – Youth Employment Rules


What times during the day can a minor work in North Carolina?

The times during a day a minor may work in North Carolina varies based on 1) whether they are under 16 year old or not, and 2) whether the work will be during school weeks or non-school weeks.

For youth that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old, North Carolina child labor laws restricts the hours they may work on any day before a school day to 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. unless a parent/guardian or the child’s principal has given the child written permission to work between those hours. North Carolina child labor laws do not restrict the times during a workday in which 16 and 17-year-olds may work on days before non-school days.

For youth that are 14-years-old and 15-years old, North Carolina child labor laws restrict the times during the day in which they work depending whether school is in session, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or school is not in session, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

AgeSchool Weeks
(Labor Day to June 1)
Non-School Weeks
(June 1 to Labor Day)
What times can a 14-year-old work?7 a.m. until 7 p.m.7 a.m. until 9 p.m.
What times can a 15-year-old work?7 a.m. until 7 p.m.7 a.m. until 9 p.m.
AgeDay before School DaysDay before Non-School Days
What times can a 16-year-old work?5 a. m until 11 p.m.No restriction
What times can a 17-year-old work?5 a. m until 11 p.m.No restriction

NC Statute 95-25.5, NC Department of Labor – Youth Employment Rules

The FLSA also restricts the how many hours a youth may work each workweek. When North Carolina child labor laws are more restrictive than the federal laws, the North Carolina rules apply.

AgeSchool Weeks
(Labor Day to June 1)
Non-School Weeks
(June 1 to Labor Day)
What times can a 14-year-old work?7 a.m. until 7 p.m.7 a.m. until 9 p.m.
What times can a 15-year-old work?7 a.m. until 7 p.m.7 a.m. until 9 p.m.
What times can a 16-year-old work?No restrictionNo restriction
What times can a 17-year-old work?No restrictionNo restriction

How many hours can a minor work each day in North Carolina?

For youth that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old, North Carolina child labor laws do not restrict how many hours they may work in a workday, except an employer may not require a minor to work when the minor is supposed to be in school.

Moreover, under North Carolina child labor laws, children that are 14-years-old and 15-years-old may work no more than 3 hours on a school day and 8 hours on a non-school day.

Max Hours Work Each DaySchool daysNon-school days
How many hours can a 14-year-old work each day?38
How many hours can a 15-year-old work each day?38
How many hours can a 16-year-old work each day?No restrictionNo restriction
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each day?No restrictionNo restriction

NC Statute 95-25.5, NC Department of Labor – Youth Employment Rules


How many hours can a minor work each week in North Carolina?

For youth that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old, North Carolina child labor laws do not restrict how many hours they may work in a workweek, except an employer may not require a minor to work when the minor is supposed to be in school.

Moreover, under North Carolina child labor laws, children that are 14-years-old and 15-years-old may work no more than 18 hours in a school workweek and 40 hours on a non-school workweek.

Max Hours Worked Each WorkweekSchool Weeks
(Labor Day to June 1)
Non-School Weeks
(June 1 to Labor Day)
How many hours can a 14-year-old work each day?1840
How many hours can a 15-year-old work each day?1840
How many hours can a 16-year-old work each day?No restrictionNo restriction
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each day?No restrictionNo restriction

NC Statute 95-25.5, NC Department of Labor – Youth Employment Rules


What kinds of jobs can a minor work in North Carolina?

Under North Carolina child labor laws and the FLSA, youth under 18 years old may not work in the following jobs except when serving a voluntary apprenticeship or student-learner program.

Manufacturing and storing explosivesMotor-vehicle driving and outside helper*Coal mining
Logging and sawmillingPower-driven woodworking machinesExposure to radioactive substances
Power-driven hoisting apparatusMining, other than coal miningSlaughtering, meat-packing processing or rendering
Power-driven metal-forming, punching and shearing machinesPower-driven bakery machinesPower-driven paper-products machines
Manufacturing brick, tile and kindred productsPower-driven circular saws, band saws and guillotine shearsWrecking, demolition and ship-breaking operations
Any processes where quartz or any other form of silicon dioxide or asbestos silicate is present in powdered formAny work involving exposure to lead or any of its compounds in any formAt any work involving exposure to benzene or any benzene compound that is volatile or can penetrate the skin
Occupations in canneries, seafood and poultry processing that involve cutting or slicing machines, or freezing or packaging activitiesAny work which involves the risk of falling a distance of 10 feet or more, including ladders and scaffoldsAny work as an electrician or electrician’s helper
Any work in confined spacesOccupations requiring the use of respiratorsWork in an establishment with an ABC on-premises permit (alcohol is served onsite), unless they are working on the outside grounds

The NC Wage and Hour Act allows youth who are 16 or 17 years of age with a valid N.C. drivers license to drive an automobile not more than 6,000 pounds gross vehicle weight. However, the federal FLSA restricts 16 and 17-year-olds driving more that NC child labor laws.

NC Statute 95-25.5, NC Department of Labor – Youth Employment Rules, FLSA


Does a teen need to have a work permit or certificate to work in North Carolina?

North Carolina child labor laws require teens under the age of 19 to obtain an employment certificate (work permit) to work in the state. Youth may submit an employment certificate application the North Carolina’s Employment Certificate application site.

The first step of the application process is to obtain a youth employment identification number (YEID). Once the YEID is obtained, the youth can provide the YEID to a prospective employer who can then complete its part of the employment certificate process. A teens parent or guardian must also provide written consent for the teen to work before they may work for the prospective employer.


Are youth workers entitled to rest breaks or meal breaks?

In Iowa, employers are required to provide minors with a unpaid meal period lasting 30 minutes or more if the minor works 5 consecutive hours in a shift. NC Statute 95-25.5, NC Department of Labor – Youth Employment Rules

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