California Child Labor in Agriculture & Farming
Child labor laws on California and Federal levels have special provisions that apply to minors working in the agricultural industry, including working as farm hands, harvesting fruit or vegetables, etc. In many states, agricultural child labor laws focus on safety and tend to be less restrictive in terms of working hours than general child labor regulations.
In most cases, agricultural child labor laws do not apply to children working on their family's farm. Many traditionally agricultural states have less restrictive child labor laws in this area.
California Agricultural Child Labor Age RestrictionsAccording to California state law, the minimum age at which a minor may work in agriculture during school hours is 18, 16 if not legally required to attend school. The minimum age at which a minor may work in agriculture outside of school hours is 12.
Minor Employment Certificate Requirements in CaliforniaAn employment certificate is required by California state law for minors working in agriculture under the age of 18. No age certification is required for minors working in agriculture under California laws.
California Agricultural Child Labor Restrictions on Working Hours
Maximum Working Hours for Minors Under 16
12 and 13 year olds may work 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week only on non-schoolday, and can work 3 hours a day / 18 hours a week when school is off.
16 and 17 year olds may work 8 hours per day and up to 48 hours per week when school is off, and may work 4 hours on a schoolday, and up to 8 on a schoolday that precedes a non schoolday, if they are required to attend school.
California specifies the following as the maximum days per week in which a minor under 16 can perform agricultural work: 6
Nightwork Regulations for Minors Under 16
Nightwork is prohibited for minors under age 16 during the following time windows: 7 p.m. (9 p.m. June 1 through Labor Day) to 7 a.m. 10 p.m. (12:30 a.m. before non-schoolday) to 5:30 a.m., for ages 16 and 17
Prohibited Hazardous Agricultural Occupations for Minors
For workers under age 16, California adopts the Federal list of hazardous occupations. For employees under 12, work is prohibited in any agriculture danger zone (like areas in or about moving equipment, unprotected chemicals, and unprotected water hazards).
Other California Child Labor Laws
In addition to laws specifically regulating minors employed in the agricultural industry, California law has a variety of regulations that cover child labor in general. To learn more, see California child labor laws.