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Understanding New York’s child labor laws

On Behalf of | May 9, 2023 | Employment Law for Employers |

Child labor is a major topic these days. You need reliable, quality employees, and some of the jobs you have available may be best suited for younger workers.

New York law allows employers to hire minors, but there are many rules and regulations that must be followed.

Minors between age 14 and 17 can work in New York. Minors under the age of 14 cannot work, with some exceptions. All minors need an employment certificate before starting work. The certificate is sometimes called their “working papers.”

Working papers

Working papers are required even if the minor has already graduated high school or is working for their parents. The working papers are different colors based on the minor’s age.

Having working papers does not mean the minor can perform any type of work. Even with working papers, minors doing factory work still cannot engage in certain tasks or be around specific machinery. They cannot do factory work altogether until they reach the age of 16, except for certain tasks in a factory office.

Hour requirements

There are also rules surrounding the hours that minors can work. Minors must attend school full time up until the last day of school of that school year.

Until they reach the age of 16, minors can only work after-school hours or while they are on vacation.

Avoiding a child labor violation

It is important for employers to be aware of these rules since there are substantial penalties for violation of child labor laws. If a minor tells you that they do not want to go to school and would rather work for you, but the law requires them to attend school full-time, you must follow the law.

Child labor laws can be complex. Recognizing the exceptions and variations, depending on the child’s age, can get confusing. Having a solid understanding of the laws can prevent you from being charged with a child labor violation.