Antony Barone Kolenc
Laws and the
Child labor laws . . . .
Yourfamilyhomeschoolsthree beautiful children: Aaron ( 17), Barry ( 15), and Carly ( 13). Recently you decided
your kids should apply their education
to real-world work experiences to develop their entrepreneurial spirit. You’ve
worked out their school schedule to cover the curriculum before noon each day,
and the kids are excited to get started.
Aaron has expressed interest in a job
with his cousin’s furniture-making business. Barry wants to work at the video
game store in the mall, and Carly wants
to help out in her uncle’s cupcake shop.
No problem, right? Wrong. Federal and
state child labor laws will put some major kinks in your family’s plans.
In general, these regulations govern the
ages at which children may get a job, the
hours they may work, and the types of
jobs they may pursue.
The Importance of Child
As with many other expansions of federal power, child labor laws developed in
response to abusive business practices.
In the early twentieth century, during
the Industrial Revolution, the dangerous exploitation of children in mining
and manufacturing sparked a national
movement to regulate child labor. In
1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act
(FLSA) finally achieved that goal at the
federal level. And over the past seventy-five years, federal and state governments
have added many more regulations in
Child labor laws serve a crucial role
in preserving the dignity and safety of
our youth today. The U.S. Department
of Labor enforces federal labor laws,
while states have separate agencies set
up to police their supplemental rules.
At only 13 years old, your daughter Carly has a real problem. Although she can
benefit from helping out in her uncle’s
cupcake shop, the rules will not allow it
because she is underage. Federal child
labor laws flatly prohibit any child under
the age of 14 from engaging in most employment. This means that Carly cannot
get paid at the cupcake shop, nor can she
volunteer in any way that might actually
benefit her uncle’s business (or any
business, for that matter).
The U.S. Department of Labor has
carved out a few job exceptions for minors under the age of 14. For instance,
Carly may deliver newspapers, babysit,
or get an acting job.
2 In addition, as
her parents, you may employ Carly in
a family-owned business and in certain
3 Unfortunately, the
cupcake shop is owned by her uncle and
no exemption applies. Still, all is not lost.
You can meet some of your goals by allowing Carly to volunteer with some
public or nonprofit organizations—but
not for pay.
Barry’s Work Hours
Your 15-year-old son, Barry, is old
enough to work in many occupations—
including that job at the mall—without
violating the child labor laws, but his
hours will be heavily regulated by federal and state rules. During the school
year he may work no more than three