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Child Labor Law Enforcement

The exterior of a school.

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has signaled increased enforcement of child labor laws, as noted in a recent HR Dive Brief.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) prohibits employers from employing minors during periods which interfere with the minor’s schooling or under conditions which interfere with the minor’s health and well-being. Additionally, prohibited occupations that are deemed particularly hazardous to children are listed by age under the FLSA’s child labor provisions. Despite the exhaustive list of prohibited tasks, minors aged 14 to 17 typically can do many common jobs found in schools.

Employing minors can be mutually beneficial: the young workers gain experience while earning cash, and employers benefit from a larger pool of willing workers. During labor shortages, many school entities seek new and creative ways to fill vacancies. Tapping into student workers is one solution, but school districts and charter schools should first familiarize themselves with the legal requirements.

Following are some helpful resources:

Abiding by child labor law standards is not only the legal thing to do, but also the right thing to do. As school entities, it is our duty and responsibility to be advocates for child welfare.  

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