LI Secretary Reminds Public of Child Labor Laws

HARRISBURG – Ensuring that workers who are 18 years old and younger are protected while on the job this summer, acting Secretary of Labor & Industry Sandi Vito reminded employers that the state’s child labor law still applies.

The law limits the hours and types of work for employees who are younger than 18.

“Employment during summer vacation provides young people with the opportunity to use their free time productively and earn income while gaining valuable work experience,” Vito said. “However, we all have a responsibility in making sure that this experience is a positive, which is why employers must adhere to the laws that safeguard our young people in the workplace.”

The law covers three age groups: less than 14 years of age, 14- and 15-year-olds, and 16- and 17-year-olds. Children under age 14 may not be employed or permitted to work in any occupation. Exceptions include children employed on a family farm; domestic service, such as lawn or house chores; caddies; newspaper carriers; and juvenile entertainment performers with special permits.

During the summer, 14- and 15-year-olds may only work between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and no more than eight hours a day, or 44 hours a week. They are also required to have a vacation certificate for each job. For some occupations, such as newspaper delivery, caddies and some farm work, different standards may apply.

Youth ages 16 and 17 may work a maximum of eight hours a day, or 44 hours a week during summer vacation with no night work limits. They may be issued a transferable work permit to be used if they change jobs.

Youth under age 18 may not work in any occupation considered dangerous to life or limb, or harmful to their morals. Exceptions include authorized apprenticeships, student learners and graduates of an approved vocational, technical or industrial-education curriculum that prepares students for the specific work.

Dangerous occupations include electrical, explosive and excavating work, heavy or cutting machinery, welding, wrecking and demolition, roofing, mining, freight elevators, and many railroad jobs.

Minors may not work more than six days a week and must be allowed a 30-minute meal period on or before five consecutive hours of work. Full- or part-time minors must be paid at least minimum wage, which is currently $7.15 per hour, with a few exceptions.

More information is available by calling L&I’s Bureau of Labor Law Compliance toll-free at 1-800-932-0665, or online, PA Keyword: “labor laws.”

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