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The U.S. Department of Labour increases focus on stopping unlawful child labour!


Karma Global, besides its foray into specialized areas like staffing, on-boarding, payroll, curbing regulatory risk, auditing and abiding by all labour law related compliance, has joined hands with topmost Indian legal firm in order to further strengthen its enduring relationships with its over 500+ clients with cost effective and time bound solutions.


The U.S. Department of Labour increases focus on stopping unlawful child labour!

For many kids (and school staff), the last bell before winter break herald’s freedom and fun. But many teenagers also use the extended time off from school to squeeze in some extra paid work. That means employers should brush up on their obligations under child labour laws. Doing so is especially important since the United States Department of Labour (DOL) announced an increased focus on identifying and stopping unlawful child labour earlier this year.

On the heels of this initiative, it is recommended that some of the best practices for manufacturing employers be adopted to avoid inadvertent use of child labour.

It is hereby outlined the key child labour requirements for companies across industries, as compliance with these requirements is likewise under the DOL’s microscope. Namely, the DOL enforces the Fair Labour Standards Act (FLSA) regulations which dictate when and where children aged 14 to 17 can work. The DOL can (and has been with increasing frequency) investigate employers to review compliance with these parameters — and penalize employers who do not comply.


Restrictions on Work Hours

Under FLSA regulations, children aged 14 and 15 may not work:

  • During school hours;
  • More than 3 hours on a school day, including Friday;
  • More than 8 hours on a non-school day, such as during winter break;
  • More than 18 hours during a week when school is in session;
  • More than 40 hours during a week when school is not in session, such as during winter break — meaning no overtime for this group; or
  • Before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. (except between June 1 and Labour Day, when the evening hour is extended to 9:00 p.m.) —
  • Keep in mind that state laws often set stricter work hours’ requirements. For example, while the FLSA does not restrict work hours for children aged 16 and 17, many state laws do.


Restrictions on Work Environments

FLSA regulations also ban 14- and 15-year-olds from working in anything other than a list of specified environments. For example, they may work in:

  • Most office jobs;
  • Most retail and food service establishments;
  • Occupations like bagging groceries, stocking shelves, and cashiering;
  • Intellectual or artistically creative occupations, like as a musician, artist, or performer;
  • Limited kitchen work involving cleaning and preparation of food and beverages (but no “cooking” unless certain conditions are satisfied, and no baking); and
  • Clean-up work and grounds maintenance (so long as certain power equipment is not used).
  • For the 16- and 17-year-old cohort, the FLSA prohibits working in “Hazardous Occupations,” which are identified in a series of “Hazardous Occupation Orders” (“HOs”).


Bottom Line: Be Careful with the Kids!

Employing minors can be a great way for them to gain valuable real-world experience and, of course, money. But employers should take care to ensure that their minor employees are scheduled appropriately and are not permitted to work in any prohibited tasks or with any prohibited equipment. Don’t let the extra help around the holidays trigger a DOL investigation or child labour law violation!


Proprietary blog of Karma Global

Collated and Compiled by the internal staff of Karma Global with the knowledge and expertise that they possess, besides adaptation, illustration, derivation, transformation, collection and auto generation for its monthly newsletter Issue 19 of January 2024 and in case of specific or general information or compliance updates for that matter, kindly reach out to the Marketing Team – /

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