Pennsylvania Child Labor Laws


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Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania. 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 Pennsylvania child labor law rules and limitations.

How old do you have to be to work in Pennsylvania?

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

There are few exceptions for children under the age 14. For example, minors who are 13 years or older may be employed on a farm by a person other than the farmer and work in the entertainment field. Also, children 12 and older may work as caddies, and children 11 and older may deliver newspapers.

Additionally, in Pennsylvania, its child labor laws do not apply to a minor who has graduate from high school or is exempt from compulsory school attendance.

PA Child Labor Act, PA Department of Labor and Industry – Child Labor


What days can a minor work in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania child labor laws do not limit the days of the week youth may work in Pennsylvania. However, Pennsylvania rules limit the times during a day a minor may work.


What times during the day can a minor work in Pennsylvania?

The times during a day a minor may work in Pennsylvania 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. Also, businesses cannot require minors to work more than six days in a workweek.

For youth that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old, Pennsylvania child labor laws restrict the times during the day in which they work depending whether the times are during school weeks, 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. (midnight), or non-school weeks, 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., except for minors providing sports-attendant services.

For youth that are 14-years-old and 15-years old, Pennsylvania child labor laws restrict the times during the day in which they work depending whether the times are during school weeks, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or non-school weeks, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., except for minors providing sports-attendant services.

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?6 a.m. until 12 a.m. (midnight)6 a.m. until 1 a.m.
What times can a 17-year-old work?6 a.m. until 12 a.m. (midnight)6 a.m. until 1 a.m.

There is exception for 14- and 15-year-olds regarding the times in a day they may work. The exception includes 14- and 15-year-olds that work on a farm who can work until 10 p.m., who deliver newspapers or periodicals, and who work as part of a recognized school-work program. PA Child Labor Act


How many hours can a minor work each day in Pennsylvania?

Under Pennsylvania child labor laws, children that are 14-years-old and 15-years-old may work no more than 3 hours on school days and 8 hours on non-school days, except for minors providing sports-attendant services.

Under Pennsylvania child labor laws, children that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old may work no more than 8 hours on school days and 10 hours on non-school days, except for minors providing sports-attendant services.

AgeMax Hours Work Each Day
(School days)
Max Hours Work Each Day
(Non-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?810
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each day?810

How many hours can a minor work each week in Pennsylvania?

Under Pennsylvania child labor laws, children that are 14-years-old and 15-years-old may work no more than 18 hours in a workweek during school weeks, except for minors providing sports-attendant services, and 40 hours during non-school weeks.

Under Pennsylvania child labor laws, children that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old may work no more than 28 hours in a workweek during school weeks, except for minors providing sports-attendant services, and 48 hours during non-school weeks. However, an employer may only require 16 and 17-year-olds to work up to 44 hours during non-school weeks. The minor may voluntarily agree to work the additional 4 hours for a total of 48.

AgeMax Hours Worked Each Week
School Weeks
(Labor Day to June 1)
Max Hours Worked Each Week
Non-School Weeks
(June 1 to Labor Day)
How many hours can a 14-year-old work each week?1840
How many hours can a 15-year-old work each week?1840
How many hours can a 16-year-old work each week?2848 (only 44 can be mandatory)
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each week?2848 (only 44 can be mandatory)

What kinds of jobs can a minor work in Pennsylvania?

Under the federal FLSA and Pennsylvania child labor laws, employees under 18 years old may not work in jobs that are considered hazardous. Here is a list of the jobs that are considered hazardous with some exceptions. PA Dept. of Labor & Industry – Child Labor Hazardous Occupations, FLSA

BrickmakerMeat processingWoodworkingIn excavating operations
Crane operatorMotion picture (film) projectionistWrecking and/or demolition workerIn quarries
Electrical workerMotor vehicleIn establishments where alcoholic beverages are produced, sold or dispensedIn the printing and paper industry
Elevator operatorPaint, acids, and poison manufacturerOn boatsAround radioactive substances
ExcavatorRooferOn machineryOn railroads and railways
Explosives and fireworks storage and manufacturingSpray coaterOn baking machineryOn rivets
Forest firefightingWelderIn metal industriesIn tanneries
Forest service/mill worker

Additionally, federal FLSA and Pennsylvania child labor laws, employees under 16 years old may not work in the following occupations.

Amusement park ride attendant, operator, or dispatcherChicken catcherLifeguardTransporting
BakerConstruction workerPublic messengerWindow cleaner
Boiler or engine room workerHoisting apparatusStrikes or lockoutsYouth peddling
CookIndustrial homeworkerTobacco stripper or sorter

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

Pennsylvania child labor laws prohibits employers from hiring minors without a work permit (employment permit). Work permits may be issued by the minor’s school or district issuing officer. The employer must also notify the issuing officer in writing within 5 days of hiring a minor which includes the minor’s normal duties and hours, age, and permit number. PA Child Labor Act

Also before a 14- and 15-year-olds works, they must provide the employer a written statement by their parent or guardian granting permission to work and acknowledging they are aware of the duties and hours the minor will work. See PA Parent Acknowledgment Form


Does Pennsylvania have special child labor laws for child performers?

Pennsylvania child labor laws have special child law rules for child performers. More information about the regulations for child actors and performers can be found in the PA Child Labor Act.


Does Pennsylvania have special child labor laws for minors serving in volunteer emergency service organizations?

Pennsylvania child labor laws allow minors 14 years old and older to volunteer to work for emergency service organizations. More information about minors working in emergency service organizations can be fount in the PA Child Labor Act.


Are youth workers entitled to rest breaks or meal breaks?

In Pennsylvania, 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.

Also, teens who work as a counselor, counselor-in-training or junior counselor during the school vacation period by a summer resident camp, a conference, or retreat operated by a religious or scout organization must receive 24 consecutive hours of rest during every seven-day period. PA Child Labor Act

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