Employment and Labor Laws

Ohio

Ohio Child Labor Laws

Ohio child labor laws regulate the ages, the times, and the types of work minors 17 years and younger may perform in Ohio. Generally, youth who are 16 and 17 years old may work in a broad range of jobs, but cannot work in jobs that Ohio has deemed are too hazardous. Youth who are 14 and 15 years old may work in a broad 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. Children 13 years old or younger may not work in Ohio, except in some limited situations. The federal laws regarding child labor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and as enforced by the Wage and Hour division of the United States Department of Labor may also apply. The detail of Ohio’s child labor laws and regulations are discussed below.

Table Of Contents
  1. What is the definition of a child or minor under Ohio child labor laws?
  2. Must a minor have and age and schooling certificate before they work in Ohio?
  3. What are Ohio child labor laws for 16 and 17-year-olds?
  4. What are Ohio child labor laws for 14 and 15-year-olds?
  5. Are there situations when there are no day, time, or hours restrictions for minors?
  6. Are employers required to provide notice of wages to minor before they start working?
  7. Are there any minors that are exemption from Ohio child labor laws?
  8. Are employers required to provide minors with meal or break rests?
  9. Are employers required to post Ohio child labor laws?
  10. Are there any rules that prohibit employers from deducting a minor’s wages?
  11. Do employers have any record keeping requirements for hours worked by minors?
  12. Are there any penalties for violating Ohio child labor laws?

What is the definition of a child or minor under Ohio child labor laws?

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


Must a minor have and age and schooling certificate before they work in Ohio?

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 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 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)

What is the application process for obaining an age and schooling certificate?

To receive an age and schooling certificate, youth must submit an application to the superintendent of the school district in which the child resides or the chief administrative officer of the school that the child attends. If youth are residents of other states, they must submit the application to the superintendent of the school district in which the place of employment is located.

To be complete, an application must contain the following:

  • a written promise of the prospective employer that it will legally employ the child, permit the child to attend school as legally required, and give notice of the nonuse of an age and schooling certificate within five days from the date the child quits or is dismissed from employment, giving the reasons for the quit or dismissal;
  • the child’s school record or notification
    • school records are are documents filled out and signed by the person in charge of the school which the child last attended that give the child’s recorded age of the child, address, standing in studies, rating in conduct, and attendance in days during the school year of the child’s last attendance
    • notifications contain information submitted to the superintendent by the parent of a child excused from attendance at school
  • evidence of the age of the child as follows:
    • a certified copy of an original birth record or a certification of birth shall be conclusive evidence of the age of the child and is preferred;
    • if a birth record or certification of birth is not available:
      • a passport, or duly attested transcript thereof, showing the date and place of birth of the child; or
      • an attested transcript of the certificate of birth or baptism or other religious record, showing the date and place of birth of the child;
    • if none of the above proofs of age can be produced, other documentary evidence, except the affidavit of the parent, legal guardian, or custodian, satisfactory to the superintendent or chief administrative officer may be accepted
    • in case no documentary proof of age can be procured and it has been established that all reasonable efforts have been made to find any appropriate documentary evidence, the superintendent or chief administrative officer of the school may agree to accept a medical certificate as proof of age, which is a certificate issued by the school physician, or if there isn’t none, of a physician, a physician assistant, a clinical nurse specialist, or a certified nurse practitioner employed by the board of education, indicating that the physician or other permitted medical expert is satisfied that the child is above the age required for an age and schooling certificate
  • a physical fitness certificate from a licensed physician, a physician assistant, a clinical nurse specialist, or a certified nurse practitioner, or from the district health commissioner, showing after a thorough examination that the child is physically fit to work in occupations that are not prohibited by law for the youth based on their age
    • a physician, physician assistant, clinical nurse specialist, or certified nurse practitioner may issue a “limited” physical fitness certificate showing that a child is physically fit to work in some, but not all, occupation that are not prohibited by law for the youth based on their age

OH Statute 3331.02

Are there additional certificate rules for 16 and 17-year-olds?

Beginning July 1, 2016, superintendents of schools may issue age and schooling certificates to 16 and 17-year-olds who:

  • agrees in writing, along with the youth’s parents, legal guardian, or custodian, that the youth is not addicted to a habit that will likely to detract from the child’s:
    • reliability or effectiveness as a worker,
    • proper use of the child’s earnings or leisure,
    • probability of faithfully carrying out the conditions to which the child agrees
  • is enrolled in a competency-based instructional program to earn a high school diploma in accordance with the rules adopted by the state board of education

OH Statute 3331.04

Also, youth who are 16 and 17 years old do not have to provide an employer an age and schooling certificate for employment that is exclusive to summer vacation and that meets any age restrictions. Before 16 and 17-year-old youth may be hired for summer employment, they must provide their employer an approved form of proof of age and a statement signed by the minor’s parent or legal guardian consenting to the employment. OH Statute 4109.02

May the schooling certificate limit the occupations in which a minor may work?

A youth’s age and schooling certificate may be limited and only allow the youth to work in specific occupations if the youth’s medical certificate, submitted with the age and schooling certificate application, indicates that the youth has limited physical capacity. OH Statute 3331.06

When must certificates be reissued?

An age and schooling certificate must be reissued when a youth changes employers. To receive a reissued certificate, a new pledge from the employer must be filed. Additionally, a new physical fitness certificate must be filed if the prior certificate is no longer valid. OH Statute 3331.07

Is there a way to appeal a decision to refuse to grant a certificate?

If a superintendent of schools or chief administrative officer of a school refused to grant a youth an age and schooling certificate after an application has been submitted, the youth may appeal the decision to the juvenile judge of the county within 10 days of the refusal decision. OH Statute 3331.08

What are the exceptions to the working permit requirements?

Ohio child labor laws do not require youth to obtain an age and schooling certificate in the following circumstances:

  • minors who work in a sheltered workshop operated by a county board of developmental disabilities
  • minors performing services for a nonprofit organization where the minor receives no compensation, except for any expenses incurred by the minor and meals provided to the minor
  • minors who are employed in agricultural employment and who do not reside in agricultural labor camps
  • minors who are sixteen or seventeen years of age and who are employed at a seasonal amusement or recreational establishment, which include:
    • an amusement or recreational establishment that does not operate for more than seven months in any calendar year; and
    • an amusement or recreational establishment whose average receipts for any six months during the preceding calendar year were not more than thirty-three and one-third per cent of its average receipts for the other six months of that calendar year

OH Statute 4109.06(B), (D)

Do employers have any notification requirements regarding schooling certificates?

An employer must notify the superintendent of schools or chief administrative officer who issued an age and schooling certificate that the certificate is no longer being used within five (5) days after the youth has quit or been dismissed from employment. OH Statute 4109.03

If a minor does not show up to work for three (3) days without an explanation, the youth’s employer must consider the employment to be terminated and must give proper notice of the nonuse of the age and schooling certificate to the authority who issued it. OH Statute 4109.09(B)

In instances where a minor has made a written request that his or her employer give notice of the nonuse of the minor’s age and schooling certificate, the employer must mail the age and schooling certificate to the authority who issued it within three (3) days. If the employer fails to mail the certificate within three (3) days, the minor may recover from the employer an amount equal to the wages which the minor would have earned if the minor has continued to work for the period between the time the employer received the minor’s request and the initiation of the minor’s suit or the employer’s compliance with the request. OH Statute 4109.09(A)


What are Ohio child labor laws for 16 and 17-year-olds?

What days, times, and hours can 16 and 17-year-olds work?

16 and 17-year-olds may work:

  • 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
  • there are no laws that restrict the days, times, or hours 16 and 17 year olds may work when school is out of session.

OH Statute 4109.07

What are the prohibited occupations for 16 and 17-year-olds?

Ohio child labor laws prohibit youth from working in the following occupations unless an exemption applies because they have been deemed to be hazardous or detrimental to the health and well-being of the youth:

  • slaughtering, meat-packing, processing, or rendering occupations
  • power-driven bakery machines occupations
  • occupations involved in the manufacture of brick, tile, or similar products
  • chemical manufacturing occupations
  • occupations involved in the manufacture or storage of explosives
  • occupations involved in the exposure to radioactive substances and to ionizing radiation
  • power-driven paper products machines occupations
  • power-driven metal forming, punching, and shearing machine operations
  • power-driven cicular saws, band saws, and guillotine shears occupations
  • power-driven woodworking machine occupations
  • coal mine occupations
  • mining occupations, other then coal
  • logging and sawmilling occupations
  • motor vehicle occupations
  • maritime and longshoreman occcupations
  • railroad occupations
  • excavation operations occupations
  • power-driven hoisting apparatus occupations
  • roofing operations occupations
  • wrecking, demolition, and shipbreaking occupations

OH Admin. Code 4101:9-2-04 – 4101:9-2-23


What are Ohio child labor laws for 14 and 15-year-olds?

What days, times, and hours can 14 and 15-year-olds work?

14 and 15-year olds may work:

  • 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.

What are the prohibited occupations for 14 and 15-year-olds?

The following occupations have been deemed to be hazardous or detrimental to the health and well-being of 14 and 15-year-olds:

  • any manufacturing occupation
  • any mining occupation
  • processing occupations (except in a retail, food service, or gasoline service establishment in those specific occupations expressly permitted there in accordance with the foregoing list) such as:
    • filleting fish
    • dressing poultry
    • cracking nuts
    • laundering performed by commercial laundries and dry cleaning
  • occupations in workrooms or workplaces where goods are manufactured, mined, or otherwise processed
  • public messenger service
  • occupations operating or tending hoisting apparatus or any power-driven machinery (other than office machines and machines in retail, food service and gasoline service establishments which are not prohibited by other rules)
  • occupations in connection with transporting persons or property by rail, highway, air, on water, pipeline or other means, except office or sales work not performed on transportation media
  • warehouse work and storage occupations
  • occupations in connection with communications and public utilities, except office or sales work not performed at the actual construction site
  • construction (including repair) occupations, except office or sales work not performed at the actual construction site
  • any of the following occupations in a retail food service or gasoline service establishment:
    • work performed in or about boiler or engine rooms
    • work in connection with maintenance or repair of the establishment, machines, or equipment
    • outside window washing that involves working from window sills, and all work requiring the use of ladders, scaffolds, or their substitutes
    • cooking (except at soda fountains, lunch counters, snack bars, or cafeteria serving counters) and baking
    • occupations which involve operating, setting up, adjusting, cleaning, oiling, or repairing power-driven food slicers and grinders, food choppers and cutters and bakery-type mixers
    • work in freezers and meat coolers and all work in preparation of meats for sale (except wrapping, sealing, labeling, weighing, pricing and stocking when performed in other areas)
    • loading and unloading goods to and from trucks, railroad cars or conveyors
    • all occupations in warehouses except office and clerical work
    • work in connection with cars and trucks involving the use of pits, racks or lifting apparatus or involving the inflation of any tire mounted on a rim equipped with a removable retaining ring

OH Admin. Code 4101:9-2-02

What are the prohibited agricultural occupations for 14 and 15-year-olds?

The following agricultural occupations have been deemed to be hazardous or detrimental to the health and well-being of 14 and 15-year-olds:

  • operating a tractor of over twenty PTO horsepower, or connecting or disconnecting an implement or any of its parts to or from such a tractor
  • operating or assisting to operate (including starting, stopping, adjusting, feeding or any other activity involving physical contact associated with the operation) any of the following machines:
    • corn picker
    • cotton picker
    • grain combine
    • hay mower
    • forage harvester
    • hay baler
    • potato digger
    • mobile pea viner
    • feed grinder
    • crop dryer
    • forage blower
    • auger conveyor
    • the unloading mechanism of a nongravity-type self-unloading wagon or trailer
    • power post-hole digger
    • power post driver
    • nonwalking-type rotary tiller
  • operating or assisting to operate (including starting, stopping, adjusting, feeding, or any other activity involving physical contact associated with the operation) any of the following machines:
    • trencher or earthmoving equipment
    • fork lift
    • potato combine
    • power-driven circular, band, or chain saw
  • working on a farm in a yard, pen, or stall occupied by a:
    • bull, boar, or stud horse maintained for breeding purposes
    • sow with suckling pigs, or cow with newborn calf (with umbilical cord present)
  • felling, bucking, skidding, loading, or unloading timber with butt diameter of more than six inches
  • working from a ladder or scaffold (painting, repairing, or building structures, pruning trees, picking fruit, etc.) at a height of over twenty feet
  • driving a bus, truck or automobile when transporting passengers, or riding on a tractor as a passenger or helper
  • working inside:
    • a fruit, forage, or grain storage designed to retain an oxygen deficient or toxic atmosphere
    • an upright silo within two weeks after silage has been added or when a top unloading device is in operating position
    • a manure pit
    • a horizontal silo while operating a tractor for packing purposes
  • handling or applying, including cleaning or decontaminating equipment, disposal or return of empty containers, or serving as a flagman for aircraft applying, agricultural chemicals classified under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act ( 7 U.S.C. 135 et seq.) as category I of toxicity, identified by the word “POISON” and the “skull and crossbones” on the label; or category II of toxicity, identified by the word “WARNING” on the label
  • handling or using a blasting agent, including but not limited to, dynamite, black powder, sensitized ammonium nitrate, blasting caps, and primer cord
  • transporting, transferring, or applying anhydrous ammonia

OH Admin. Code 4101:9-2-03

What are the rules regaring door-to-door sales for 14 and 15-year-olds?

Ohio child labor laws prohibit employers from employing youth under the age of 16 in door-to-door sales activity unless the employer is registered with the Ohio Department of Commerce. Door-to-door sales activity includes selling or offering to sell candy, cookies, flowers, newspapers, magazines, newspaper or magazine subscriptions, household cleaning products, or any other merchandise or commodity away from the employer’s place of business. It does not include any selling conducted in connection with a bona fide educational, charitable, or religious activity. It also does not include any selling for a newspaper subscription drive so long as the minor also delivers newspapers to the consumer for the newspaper in which the subscription drive is conducted and the subscription drive is supervised by an individual who is eighteen years of age or older and an employee of the newspaper’s subscription drive. OH Statute 4109.21

Are there any exemptions for hazardous agricultural occupations for 14 and 15-year-olds?

Ohio child labor laws provide the following exemptions from its prohibitions of 14 and 15-year-olds performing the hazardous agricultural occupations listed above:

  • when youth perform the work in connection with farms operated by their parents, grandparents, or legal guardian
  • when the youth hold certificates of completion from the 4-H federal extension service training program and the United States office of education vocational agriculture training program for tractor operation or machine operation and they work in the occupations for which they have been certified (farmers employing minors who are certified under these programs must keep a copy of the certificates of completion on file with the minor employee’s record)

OH Admin. Code 4101:9-2-03


Are there situations when there are no day, time, or hours restrictions for minors?

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

  • A minor adjudicated to be an unruly or delinquent child who is placed on probation may either file a petition in the juvenile court or apply to the superintendent or chief administrative officer who issued the minor’s age and schooling certificate pursuant to OH Statute 3331.01, alleging the work hours restrictions described in OH Statute 4109.07(D) 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, as appropriate, must consult with the person required to supervise the minor on probation. If after that consultation, the court, the superintendent, or the chief administrative officer finds the minor has failed to show the restrictions will result in a substantial hardship or that the restrictions are not in the minor’s best interests, the court, the superintendent, or the chief administrative officer will uphold the restrictions. If after that consultation, the court, the superintendent, or the chief administrative officer finds the minor has shown the restricted hours will cause a substantial hardship or are not in the minor’s best interests, the court, the superintendent, or the chief administrative officer will establish differing hours of employment for the minor and notify the minor and the minor’s employer of those hours, which will be binding in lieu of the restrictions on the hours of employment described in OH Statute 4109.07(D).
  • A minor employer who is not adjudicated to be an unruly or delinquent minor may either file a petition in the juvenile court in whose jurisdiction the person resides or apply to the superintendent or chief administrative officer who issued the minor’s age and schooling certificate pursuant to OH Statute 3331.01 alleging the restrictions on the hours of employment described in OH Statute 4109.07(D)will cause a substantial hardship or are not in the minor’s best interests. If, as a result of a petition or application, the court, the superintendent, or the chief administrative officer, as appropriate, finds the minor has failed to show such restrictions will result in a substantial hardship or that the restrictions are not in the minor’s best interests, the court, the superintendent, or the chief administrative officer will uphold the restrictions. If the court, the superintendent, or the chief administrative officer finds the minor has shown the restricted hours will cause a substantial hardship or are not in the minor’s best interests, the court, the superintendent, or the chief administrative officer will establish the hours of employment for the minor and shall notify the minor and the minor’s employer of those hours.

OH Statute 4109.06(C)


Are employers required to provide notice of wages to minor before they start working?

Ohio child labor laws require employers to provide youth employees before the youth’s actual starting date a written statement containing the youth’s wage rate or other agreed-upon compensation methods.

Employers must also provide youth employees with a statement of earnings on or before each payday indicating the about of earnings 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 Statute 4109.10(A)


Are there any minors that are exemption from Ohio child labor laws?

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 who participate in a career-technical or STEM program approved by the state of Ohio department of education or students participating in any eligible classes through the college credit plus program established under Ohio code chapter 3365. of the Ohio Revised Code that include a state-recognized pre-apprenticeship program that imparts the skills and knowledge needed for successful participation in a registered apprenticeship occupation course
  • 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 legal 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 legal 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 Statute 4109.06(A)


Are employers required to provide minors with meal or break rests?

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


Are employers required to post Ohio child labor laws?

Ohio child labor laws require employers to post:

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

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


Are there any rules that prohibit employers from deducting a minor’s wages?

Ohio child labor laws prohibit employers from deducting the following from a 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 Statute 4109.10(B)


Do employers have any record keeping requirements for hours worked by minors?

Ohio child labor laws require employers to keep the following time records for two (2) 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 Statute 4109.11


Are there any penalties for violating Ohio child labor laws?

Employers who violate Ohio minor 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 years 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 years 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 years 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 Statute 4109.99


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