Youth 2 Work OSHA U.S. Department of Labor
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Do You Know... you have workplace rights and responsibilities as an agricultural employee? There are Child Labor Laws and state laws to help protect you at work. These laws tell you what hours you can work and at what jobs you can work if you are less than 16 years old.

Teens picking crops in a field

Rights
Teen worker putting crops into a wooden box
Teen agricultural employees rights may include:
  • Training about health and safety, including information about pesticides and other chemicals that could be harmful to your health. [EPA 170.130]

  • Paying you at least the minimum wage for your work. Some exemptions may apply.

  • Working only the limited hours and at the types of work permitted by state and federal laws. Federal child labor laws apply to agricultural work if you are under 16 years old.

  • Paying you for medical care (workers' compensation) if you get injured or sick because of your job.

  • Access to handwashing facilities, toilets, and potable drinking water must be provided by employers of 11 or more field workers. [29 CFR 1928.110] Field Sanitation.
Teen worker - responsibilities:
  • Follow all child labor laws that apply to you.

  • Follow all safety rules and instructions.

  • Use any provided safety equipment and protective clothing.

  • Wash your hands before eating or drinking in the fields.

  • Never drink irrigation water.

  • Know what to do in case of an emergency.

  • Report any health and safety hazards to your supervisor.


State Labor Laws
In addition to Federal child labor laws, every state has specific laws that address child labor issues. When federal and state standards are different, the rules that provide the most protection to youth workers will apply. Employers must comply with both federal and applicable state laws.

The following link provides a listing of child labor laws for each state. Click on your state to view specific information such as your states minimum wage law, or minimum age requirements for employment, Child labor laws by state.


Child Labor Laws
What are child labor laws? Federal child labor laws are established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA child labor provisions are designed to protect youth at work and prohibit your employment in jobs and under conditions detrimental to your health and safety.

Do Not Allow sign Child labor laws apply to young workers in agriculture. Hour and job restrictions depend upon your age and the job you are doing. The rules are the same for all youth, including migrant workers.

Agricultural employment hour restrictions include:

  • A youth 14- or 15-years-old can work in agriculture, on any farm, but only during hours when school is not in session and only in non-hazardous jobs.

  • A youth 12 or 13 years of age, can work in agriculture on a farm only if a parent has given written permission or is working on the same farm. Again, the work can be performed only during hours when school is not in session and in non-hazardous jobs.

  • Youth younger than 12 can work in agriculture on a farm only if the farm is not required to pay the Federal minimum wage.

  • A youth that is 16 years old or older, can work on any farm, including during hours when school is in session, on any day, for any number of hours, and in any job.

  • Some exemptions exist. For example, youths of any age may work at any time in any job on a farm owned or operated by their parents, or someone standing in place of their parent.

  • State Child Labor Laws for agriculture may differ from state to state.
Can I work in any agricultural job?

No, the Secretary of Labor has found that the following agricultural occupations are too hazardous for youths under 16 years of age. No youth under 16 years of age may be employed at any time in any of these hazardous occupations in agriculture (HO/A) unless they are specifically exempt.

For additional information see 29 CFR 570.71, Occupations Involved in Agriculture [141 KB PDF, 2 pages].

US Department of Labor fact sheets and guides on agriculture:


Additional Information:
  • For Teens in Agriculture- The Basic about young agricultural workers health and safety. YoungWorkers.org, California Resource Network for Young Workers' Health and Safety, (2009, April). Provides basic health and safety information for young California agricultural workers.
  • Child Labor Rules Advisor. US Department of Labor (DOL) elaws.
  • State Labor Laws Applicable to Agricultural Employment. US Department of Labor (DOL) State Labor Laws.

Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

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