Child Labor Laws in the US

If you are under 18, there are rules regarding your employment, but generally you have the same rights as other workers. Being familiar with the rules that have to do with pay, safety and health, and discrimination will help you have a positive work experience.

Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act establishes rules regarding the employment of individuals under the age of 18. In addition to rules for young workers, the FLSA contains provisions on minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping.

Occupational Safety and Health Act

The Occupational Safety and Health Act establishes federal workplace safety rules and requires that employers provide a safe and healthful work environment and comply with occupational safety and health standards for all employees, regardless of their age. On the Occupational Safety and Health Administration website you can find information on potential hazards you may be exposed to on the job, read about actual accidents and tragedies involving your peers, and find out about special OSHA safety campaigns for young workers.

Hazardous Occupations Regulations

The FLSA contains restrictions on employing workers under the age of 18 in hazardous occupations. Among these occupations are excavation, manufacturing explosives, mining, and operating many types of power-driven equipment �" (yes, including a car!). There are different hazardous occupations for agricultural work that are prohibited only for children under age 16.


Employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, age, and retaliation are prohibited under federal Equal Employment Opportunity laws. Visit the EEOC Youth@Work website to learn about different types of discrimination affecting young workers and what you can do to help prevent discrimination in the workplace. Be an informed employee �" know your real world rights and responsibilities!

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