|Federal Child Labor Laws in Farm Jobs
The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) as amended, sets
standards for child labor in agriculture. These standards
differ from those for nonfarm jobs.
To Which Agricultural Workers does the FLSA Apply?
The FLSA covers employees whose work involves production of
agricultural goods which will leave the state directly or
indirectly and become a part of interstate commerce.
What are the Minimum Age Standards for Agricultural Employment?
Youths ages 16 and above may work in any farm job at any time.
Youths aged 14 and 15 may work outside school hours in jobs
not declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor.
Youths 12 and 13 years of age may work outside of school hours
in non-hazardous jobs on farms that also employ their parent(s)
or with written parental consent.
Youths under 12 years of age may work outside of school hours
in non-hazardous jobs with parental consent, but only on farms
where none of the employees are subject to the minimum wage
requirements of the FLSA.
Local youths 10 and 11 may hand harvest short-season crops
outside school hours for no more than 8 weeks between June
1 and October 15 if their employers have obtained special
waivers from the Secretary of Labor.
Youths of any age may work at any time in any job on a farm
owned or operated by their parents.
What are the Hazardous Occupations in Agriculture?
Minors under 16 may not work in the following occupations
declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor:
? operating a tractor of over 20 PTO horsepower, or connecting
or disconnecting an implement or any of its parts to or from
such a tractor;
? operating or working with a corn picker, cotton picker,
grain combine, hay mower, forage harvester, hay baler, potato
digger, mobile pea viner, feed grinder, crop dryer, forage
blower, auger conveyor, unloading mechanism of a nongravity-type
self-unloading wagon or trailer, power post-hole digger, power
post driver, or nonwalking-type rotary tiller;
? operating or working with a trencher or earthmoving equipment,
fork lift, potato combine, or power-driven circular, band
or chain saw;
? working in a yard, pen, or stall occupied by a bull, boar,
or stud horse maintained for breeding purposes; a sow with
suckling pigs; or a cow with a newborn calf (with umbilical
? felling, buckling, skidding, loading, or unloading timber
with a butt diameter or more than 6 inches;
? working from a ladder or scaffold at a height of over 20
? driving a bus, truck or automobile to transport passengers,
or riding on a tractor as a passenger or helper;
? working inside: a fruit, forage, or grain storage designed
to retain an oxygen-deficient or toxic atmosphere; an upright
silo within 2 weeks after silage has been added or when a
top unloading device is in operating position; a manure pit;
or a horizontal silo while operating a tractor for packing
? handling or applying toxic agricultural chemical identified
by the words "danger," "poison," or "warning
or a skull and crossbones on the label;
? handling or using explosives; and
? transporting, transferring, or applying anhydrous ammonia.
The prohibition of employment in hazardous occupations does
not apply to youths employed on farms owned or operated by
their parents. In addition, there are some exemptions from
? 14 and 15-year old student learners enrolled in vocational
agricultural programs are exempt from certain hazardous occupations
when certain requirements are met; and
? minors aged 14 and 15 who hold certificates of completion
of training under a 4-H or vocational agriculture training
program may work outside school hours on certain equipment
for which they have been trained.
What if state child labor standards differ from federal standards?
Many states have laws setting standards for child labor in
agriculture. When both state and federal child labor laws
apply, the law setting the most stringent standard must be