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Department of Labor Cracks Down on Illegal Employment of Children

June 17, 2010

In a blog from earlier this week, our attorneys at Howard Law, PC discussed the Department of Labor's (DOL) announcement of a grant, supporting and training women in non-traditional occupations.

The DOL made headline news again this week, announcing that employers who illegally employ children as workers will now face stronger penalties--as the department is cracking down on employers who violate child labor rules and regulations.

In a statement by Hilda L. Solis, Secretary of Labor, young workers are a priority of the state department. Solis claims that work involving children must be age appropriate, must not interfere with school, and must be conducted in a healthy and safe work environment.

According to current child labor provisions under federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):

  • Workers under the age of 18 are prohibited from working in hazardous, nonagricultural occupations.
  • Individuals who are under the age of 16 are legally able to work only limited after school hours.
  • Individuals who are age 14 and 15 may also not work before 7am in the morning, or after 7pm in the evening, unless it's from June 1 through Labor Day, in which they can work until 9pm.
  • The types of jobs and hours that 14- and 15-year-olds can work are also restricted by FLSA laws.
  • With agricultural work, children under the age of 12 may be employed with consent from their parents, but only on small farms that are not subject to federal minimum wage requirements.
  • Individual workers who are 12- or 13-years-old may also be employed on a farm with parental permission, or can also be hired to work on the same farm as a parent.
  • On a general rule, no farm worker under the age of 16 can perform hazardous work, or engage in employment during school hours.

Under the new, tougher penalty structure of the DOL, employers who employ 12 and 13-year-olds illegally will face a $6,000 penalty per violation. The penalty will be at least $8,000 per violation if the child is under the age of 12. Under certain conditions, illegally employing child laborers under the age of 14 could be raised to $11,000 per violation.

According to Solis, the DOL recently published final regulations that update the rights of young workers in nonagricultural work. The regulations governing child labor in agriculture are in progress of being completed.

The DOL has a website, "YouthRules!" designated to educate parents, children and employers on child labor, the jobs young people can perform, and the wage and hour rights surrounding their employment.

In cities in Orange County and throughout Southern California, our Anaheim-based Labor & Employment Attorneys know how to find the best solution to your labor or employment issue. Contact us at Howard Law, PC today.

US Department of Labor Announces Stiffer Penalties for Illegal Employment of Children, PR Newswire, June 16, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Department of Labor (DOL): Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Department of Labor (DOL): Youth Rules