Federal Child Labor in Agriculture & Farming
Child labor laws on 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.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to migrants and local residents regardless of farm size or number of man-days of farm labor used on that farm.
Federal Agricultural Child Labor Age RestrictionsAccording to Federal law, the minimum age at which a minor may work in agriculture during school hours is 16. The minimum age at which a minor may work in agriculture outside of school hours is 14 years old, or 12 with written parental consent or on farm where the parent is employed. Under 12 with written parental consent on farms exempt from Federal minimum wage provisions..
Minor Employment Certificate Requirements in FederalNo employment certificate is required for minors working in agriculture under Federal laws. No age certification is required for minors working in agriculture under Federal laws.
Federal Agricultural Child Labor Restrictions on Working Hours
Maximum Working Hours for Minors Under 16
Federal law does not specify any limitations on maximum working hours for minors under 16 who are engaged in agricultural work.
Federal does not specify any limitations on the number of days per week that can be worked by minors under 16 who are engaged in agricultural work.
Nightwork Regulations for Minors Under 16
Federal does not specify any time windows in which minors under 16 are prohibited to work.
Prohibited Hazardous Agricultural Occupations for Minors
For workers under age 16, numerous occupations have been declared hazardous in 11 categories of employment. These prohibited categories including, among others, the following:
- Operating tractors of over 20 PTO horsepower
- operating or assisting to operate corn pickers, grain combines, hay movers, potato diggers, trenchers or earthmoving equipment, or power-driven circular, hand or chain saws
- working in a yard, pen or stall occupied by a stud animal or a sow with suckling pigs; working inside a silo or manure pit;
- handling or applying certain agricultural chemicals; and handling or using a blasting agent such as dynamite or black powder
Other Federal Child Labor Laws
In addition to laws specifically regulating minors employed in the agricultural industry, Federal law has a variety of regulations that cover child labor in general. To learn more, see Federal child labor laws.