West Virginia Child Labor Laws


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West Virginia 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 West Virginia. 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 West Virginia child labor law rules and limitations.

How old do you have to be to work in West Virginia?

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

  • Agriculture and horticulture activities which have not been declared hazardous by the secretary of the United States department of labor
  • Domestic services within the residence of the employer
  • Work for parents or legal guardian in their solely owned business, except those jobs set out in section two of this article
  • As actors or performers in motion pictures, theatrical, radio or television productions;
  • Newspaper delivery

WV Statutes 21-6-1 to 21-6-11, WV Division of Labor – Child Labor


What days can a minor work in West Virginia?

West Virginia child labor laws do not limit the days of the week youth may work in West Virginia. However, West Virginia rules limit the times during a day a minor may work. WV Statutes 21-6-1 to 21-6-11, WV Division of Labor – Child Labor


What times during the day can a minor work in West Virginia?

The times during a day a minor may work in West Virginia 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, West Virginia child labor laws do not restrict the times during a workday in which they may work, except an employer may not require a minor to work when the minor is supposed to be in school.

For youth that are 14-years-old and 15-years old, West Virginia child labor laws restrict the times during the day in which they work to 10 p.m. on any day before a school day. The law does not restrict how early a 14 or 15-year-old may work or the times they may work on days before a non-school day.

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

WV Statutes 21-6-1 to 21-6-11, WV Division of Labor – Child Labor, FLSA


How many hours can a minor work each day in West Virginia?

For youth that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old, West Virginia 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 West Virginia child labor laws, children that are 14-years-old and 15-years-old may work no more than 4 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

WV Statutes 21-6-1 to 21-6-11, WV Division of Labor – Child Labor, FLSA


How many hours can a minor work each week in West Virginia?

For youth that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old, West Virginia 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 West Virginia child labor laws, children that are 14-years-old and 15-years-old may work no more than 20 hours during a school week and 40 hours during a non-school week.

Max Hours Worked Each Workweek
Federal Law
School Weeks
(Labor Day to June 1)
Federal Law
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?No restrictionNo restriction
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each week?No restrictionNo restriction

WV Statutes 21-6-1 to 21-6-11, WV Division of Labor – Child Labor, FLSA


What kinds of jobs can a minor work in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, according to the FLSA, youth 14 years old and older may work in the following jobs.

Clerical and sales work performed in an office environment is permissible as long as such work is not performed on a construction site, on transportation media, or on an actual means of transportation. The use of standard office equipment is permittedComputer programming, writing software, teaching, tutoring, or serving as a teacher’s aide or assistantSinging, playing a musical instrument, drawing, and modeling are permissible when related to a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor
Selling, modeling, art work, working in advertising departments, window trimming (decorating), and comparative shoppingPrice marking may be performed by hand or machineAssemble customer orders and stock shelves when the use of a ladder is not required
Bag and carry out customer orders and grocery
purchases
Run errands and make deliveries by foot, bicycle, and public transportation onlyUse vacuum cleaners and floor waxers in areas permissible for 14 & 15-year-olds
Perform work involved in the preparation and serving of food and beverages (other than alcohol) including the operation of dishwashers, toasters, dumbwaiters, popcorn poppers, milk shake blenders, waffle irons, coffee grinders, automatic coffee machines (including cappuccino and expresso machines), cotton candy machines, snow cone machines, and Italian ice machinesUse microwave ovens, food warmers, steam tables, and heat lamps that do not have the capacity to warm above 140 degrees Fahrenheit are also permissibleClean fruits and vegetables using a handheld kitchen knife meant for that purpose. The use of electric knives or knives used for the cutting or boning of meat are not permissible
Clean non-power-driven equipment or other equipment not specifically prohibited for use by this age groupClean kitchen surfaces and floors including the use of vacuum cleaners and floor waxersCook using gas and electric grills with a solid slab surface that does
not allow for an open flame
Remove oil or grease filters, pour oil or grease through filters, and move receptacles containing hot grease or oil, but only when equipment, surfaces, containers and liquids do not exceed 100 degrees FahrenheitUse warmer ovens and microwave ovens that do not have the capacity to heat above 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Power driven ovens or baking ovens may not be usedEnter a freezer momentarily for the sole purpose of retrieving items in conjunction with the restocking of supplies or food preparation only. No work is to be performed while inside the freezer
Pump gas, wash or polish cars and trucks exempt may not repair cars, use lifting racks, or work in pitsLoad and unload hand tools and personal equipment from motor vehicles used personally by the minor15-year-olds serve as a lifeguard and give swimming lessons at traditional swimming pools and water amusement parks such as wave pools, lazy rivers, etc. when properly trained and certified in aquatics and water safety by the American Red Cross or a similar certifying organization. For the purpose of giving swimming lessons, the minor must obtain additional certification as a swimming instructor

In West Virginia, under the FLSA, youth under 16 years old may not work in the following jobs, except except when serving a voluntary apprenticeship, work-training program, or student-learner program..

manufacturing, including occupations requiring the performance of any duties in work rooms or places where goods are manufacturedmining, including occupations requiring the performance of any duties in work rooms or places where goods are minedprocessing, including occupations requiring the performance of any duties in work rooms or places where goods are processed
operating, tending, setting up, adjusting, cleaning, oiling, or repairing hoisting apparatuswork in or around boiler or engine rooms or in connection with maintaining or repairing the establishment, machines, or equipmentoperating, tending, setting up, adjusting, cleaning, oiling, or repairing power-driven machinery, including but not limited to lawn mowers, golf carts, all-terrain vehicles, trimmers, cutters, weed-eaters, edgers, food slicers, food grinders, food choppers, food processors, food cutters, and food mixers
operating motor vehicles or serving as a helper on a motor vehicleriding on a motor vehicle except in those cases where is explicitly permitted (see above)outside window washing if it involves working from window sills
work requiring the use of ladders, scaffolds, or similar equipmentbaking and cooking activities except in those cases explicitly permitted (see above)working in freezers and meat coolers, unless it is only momentarily to retrieve items (see above)
preparing meats for sale except in those cases explicitly permitted (see above)youth peddlingloading and unloading of goods or property onto or from motor vehicles, railroad cars, or conveyors, except the loading and unloading of personal non-power-driven hand tools, personal protective equipment, and personal items to and from motor vehicles
catching and cooping of poultry in preparation for transport or for marketpublic messenger serviceoccupations in connection with transporting people or property by rail, highway, air, water, pipeline, or other means, except office work (including ticket office) or sales work if it does not involve performing any duties on trains, motor vehicles, aircraft, vessels, or other media of transportation
occupations in connection with warehousing and storage, except office work or sales workoccupations in connection with communications and public utilities. except office work or sales workoccupations in connection with construction, including demolition and repair, except office work or sales work if it does not involve performing duties at the actual site of construction operations.

In West Virginia, under the FLSA, youth under 18 years old may not work in the following hazardous jobs except when serving a voluntary apprenticeship, work-training program, or student-learner program.

WV Statutes 21-6-1 to 21-6-11, WV Division of Labor – Child Labor, FLSA


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

West Virginia child labor laws require 14-15 year old workers to obtain an work permit to work in West Virginia. To obtain a work permit, a teen must complete a work permit form and present it to the principal or registrar of the minor’s school to be signed and authorized. The work permit form requires information about the teen and the prospective employer and must be signed by the teen’s parent/guardian and the prospective employer.

West Virginia also allows a superintendent or otherwise authorized person issue an age certificate for 16 and 17-year-old teens. Employers may request a 16 and 17-year-old teens to obtain an age certificate to validate and document that the teen is 16 years of age or older.


Are youth workers entitled to rest breaks or meal breaks?

In West Virginia, employers are required to give youth workers a meal break of 30 minutes when they work more than 5 continuous hours in a shift. WV Statutes 21-6-1 to 21-6-11, WV Division of Labor – Child Labor, FLSA

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