Tennessee Child Labor Laws 2024


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Tennessee 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 Tennessee. 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 Tennessee child labor law rules and limitations.

How old do you have to be to work under Tennessee child labor laws?

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

There are a few exceptions for children under the age 14. The exemptions for all children include:

housework in the minor’s homeemployed by a parent or guardian in a nonhazardous occupationagricultural work
distribution or sale of newspaperserrand and delivery work by foot, bicycle or public transportationself-employed
musician or entertainer, except in cases covered by § 50-5-106(20)

TN Statute 50-5-101 to 50-5-115, TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development – Child Labor Act


What days can a minor work in Tennessee?

Tennessee child labor laws do not limit the days of the week youth may work in Tennessee. However, Tennessee rules limit the times during a day a minor may work. TN Statute 50-5-101 to 50-5-115, TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development – Child Labor Act


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

The times during a day a minor may work in Tennessee 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, Tennessee child labor laws restricts the hours they may work on any day before a school day to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tennessee 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, Tennessee 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.
What times can a 16-year-old work?No restrictionNo restriction
What times can a 17-year-old work?No restrictionNo restriction
AgeDay before School DaysDay before Non-School Days
What times can a 16-year-old work?6 a. m until 10 p.m.No restriction
What times can a 17-year-old work?6 a. m until 10 p.m.No restriction

TN Statute 50-5-101 to 50-5-115, TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development – Child Labor Act

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 Tennessee?

For youth that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old, Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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

TN Statute 50-5-101 to 50-5-115, TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development – Child Labor Act


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

For youth that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old, Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 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

TN Statute 50-5-101 to 50-5-115, TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development – Child Labor Act


What kinds of jobs can a minor work in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, youth under 18 years old may not work in the following jobs except when serving a voluntary apprenticeship.

In or about plants or establishments manufacturing or
storing explosives or articles containing explosive
components
Motor vehicle driving occupationsCoal mine occupations
Logging and sawmill operationsOperation of power-driven woodworking machinesExposure to radioactive substances and ionizing radiations
Operation of elevator and other power-driven hoisting
apparatus
Operation of power-driven metal forming, punching and
shearing machines
Mining elements other than coal
Slaughtering, meat packing, processing or renderingOperation of power-driven bakery machinesOperation of power-driven paper products machines
Manufacture of brick, tile and kindred productsOperation of circular saws, band saws and guillotine shearsWrecking, demolition and ship-breaking operations
Roofing operationsExcavation operationsIn any place of employment where the average monthly gross receipts from the sale of intoxicating beverages exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the total gross receipts of the place of employment, or in any place of employment where a minor will be permitted to take orders for or serve intoxicating beverages regardless of the amount of intoxicating beverages sold in the place of employment
Occupations involved in youth peddlingPosing or modeling alone or with others while engaged in sexual conduct for the purpose of preparing a film, photograph, negative, slide or motion pictureAny occupation which the commissioner shall by
regulation declare to be hazardous or injurious to the life,
health, safety and welfare of minors

TN Statute 50-5-101 to 50-5-115, TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development – Child Labor Act, see also FLSA


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

Tennessee child labor laws do not require teens under 18 years old to to obtain an employment certificate (work permit) in order to work in the state. TN Statute 50-5-101 to 50-5-115, TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development – Child Labor Act

Although, teens may obtain a federal certificate of age to validate their age and employers may rely on the federal age certificate to defend themselves from claims that they employed an underage teen. FLSA Child Labor Law Age Certificates


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 6 consecutive hours in a shift. TN Statute 50-5-101 to 50-5-115, TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development – Child Labor Act

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