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November 4, 2008    DOL Home > Compliance Assistance > By Topic > Wages and Hours Worked > Wages and Hours for Youth   

Wages and Hours Worked:

Wages and Hours for Youth

 Frequently Asked Questions


The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) monitors child labor and enforces child labor laws. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) restricts the hours (and occupations) youth may work. Child labor provisions under FLSA are designed to protect the educational opportunities of youth and prohibit their employment in jobs that are detrimental to their health and safety. The Department's YouthRules! initiative seeks to promote positive and safe work experiences for young workers.

FLSA restricts the hours that youth under 16 years of age can work and lists hazardous occupations too dangerous for young workers to perform. In addition, the FLSA establishes wage standards for employees less than 20 years of age and establishes subminimum wage categories for certain full-time students, student learners, apprentices, and workers with disabilities. See subminimum wage. Enforcement of the FLSA's child labor provisions is handled by the Wage and Hour Division of the Departments Employment Standards Administration.

All states also have standards concerning youth employment. When federal and state standards are different, the rules that provide the most protection to young workers will apply. For information on youth who are in apprenticeship programs, see Apprenticeships.






  • FLSA Minimum Wage Poster - Describes the requirement that every employer of employees subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime provisions must post a notice explaining the Act.
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Every covered employer must keep certain records for each employee. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires no particular form for the records, but does require that the records include certain identifying information about the employee and data about the hours worked and the wages earned. For a listing of the basic records that an employer must maintain, see the FLSA recordkeeping fact sheet.

The FLSA does not require that youth get work permits or working papers to get a job. However, some states do require work permits prior to getting a job. School counselors may be able to advise if a work permit is needed before getting a job.

Prior to paying an employed the subminimum wage, as allowed under certain provisions of the FLSA, employers may have to apply for a certificate from the U. S. Department of Labor. See the form instructions page for additional information.


  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) - Establishes minimum wages, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards for private sector and government workers. Youth minimum wage provisions are contained in Section 6 and child labor provisions are contained in Section 12.
  • 29 CFR Part 519 - Regulations regarding employment of full-time students at sub-minimum wages.
  • 29 CFR Part 520 - Regulations regarding employment of messengers, learners (including student learners), and apprentices.
  • 29 CFR Part 525 - Regulations regarding employment of workers with disabilities for the work being performed under special certificates.
  • 29 CFR 570.2(a) - Regulations regarding the employment of young workers in non-agricultural jobs.
  • 29 CFR 570.2(b) - Regulations regarding the employment of young workers in agricultural jobs.
  • 29 CFR 570.50 to 570.68 - Regulations regarding hazardous occupations in non-agricultural work.
  • 29 CFR 570.70 to 570.72 - Regulations regarding the hazardous occupations in agricultural work.
  • 29 CFR 570.117 to 570.121 - Regulations concerning oppressive child labor.


  • Compliance Assistance by Audience - Youth - A Web page linking to U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rules and resources pertaining to youth.
  • Youth and Labor - A topic page on youth and labor with links to various resources.
  • Youth 2 Work - A comprehensive Department of Labor teen worker Web site.
  • Subminimum Wage - A topic page on programs that allow for payment of less than the full federal minimum wage to full-time students, student-learners, and workers with disabilities.
  • State Laws - Provides links to state laws and information concerning youth employment.
  • ETA's Office of Youth Services - Provides information regarding youth apprenticeships and career exploration programs administered by the Employment and Training Administration (ETA).


  • Employment Standards Administration (ESA)
    Wage and Hour Division
    200 Constitution Avenue, NW
    Room S-3502
    Washington, DC 20210
    Contact WHD
    Tel: 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243)
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627
    Local Offices

  • For questions on other DOL laws,
    please call DOL's Toll-Free Help Line at 1-866-4-USA-DOL. Live assistance is available in English and Spanish, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Additional service is available in more than 140 languages through a translation service.
    Tel: 1-866-4-USA-DOL
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627

*Pursuant to the U.S. Department of Labor's Confidentiality Protocol for Compliance Assistance Inquiries, information provided by a telephone caller will be kept confidential within the bounds of the law. Compliance assistance inquiries will not trigger an inspection, audit, investigation, etc.

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