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Protecting minor workers in New York

Whether a teenager wants or needs to work, it is crucial for them, their parents and their employers to understand the strict rules in place for hiring minors. Not only is there the federal Fair Labor Standards Act in place, but New York has some of the strictest state-level child labor laws in the country.

Below are some basic facts about the rules for hiring child labor in this state


For a person under 18 to work in New York, he or she must have "working papers." These employment certificates are necessary for various types of work. However, they are not valid for hazardous employment, and they are not necessary for young people working casual occupations or babysitting and caddying. Officials with a child's school will issue working papers. 

Some minors will also need permission from a parent or guardian to work in certain jobs and at certain times.

There are also prohibitions on the types of jobs minors may perform, including factory work and occupations where they would operate dangerous machines.

Limits on working hours

Minors generally have restrictions on when they can work. These restrictions vary based on a person's age, school attendance and the type of work he or she performs. 

Generally, a 14- or 15-year-old student enrolled in school cannot work more than 18 hours a week while school is in session. Further, he or she cannot work more than three hours on school days or eight hours on non-school days.

And students aged 16 or 17 can work between 10 p.m. and midnight before a school day only if they receive parental permission and have a satisfactory performance in school.

However, there are exceptions to these rules, and again, the legal permissions vary by age, occupation and school performances. The state Department of Labor has a helpful chart on permitted working hours for minors that can provide more information.

Protecting your child

If your child works, or if you are a minor currently employed, and you have questions about the protections for workers under 18 in New York, then talking to an attorney can be crucial. Employers have strict rules they must follow when hiring minors, and those who violate these rules put children and their rights at risk.

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