Texas Child Labor Laws: What Businesses Need to Know

If you are a business that hires or is planning to hire kids under the age of 18, you must inform yourself about Texas laws on child labor. These laws will tell you about the ages of children that may be employed in business, for how long, and for what types of work.

In general, children 13 and under cannot work in Texas, with some exceptions. Children over 14 and 15 may be employed only in some jobs, with strict limitations on how long they can work, particularly during the school term. Young 16 and 17 year-olds can be hired in a broader spectrum of non-hazardous jobs.

While hiring children makes business sense to agricultural companies and small businesses in Texas, there may be cases with a conflict between Texas laws and federal laws. In such cases, the stricter law applies. If you’re looking for advice on how to carry out due diligence when hiring a minor, you can find it here.

Work Permitted For 11 to 13-Year-Olds

There are no age restrictions on kids working in their parents’ business, including a farm. Kids of any age may perform in theater productions, movies, TV; radio etc. as long as they have a permit to do so.

Children 11 and up can deliver newspapers, but not sell them.

Children at 12 and 13 are allowed to work on a farm that is not their parents’. However, they can only do so with their parents’ permission, outside school hours, and as long as the work involved is non-hazardous.

Laws Regarding 14 and 15-year-olds

These laws are per the Texas State Law. 14 and 15 year-olds can’t work more than 8 hours a day and 48 hours a week. They can’t work later than midnight. They cannot go to work before 5 am and cannot work after 10 pm on school nights. Businesses that are covered by the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) will have other rules to follow regarding hours. Also, in some cases, a child can request exemption regarding working hours if they have an obligation to support themselves and their immediate family.

The law details specific jobs that are permitted. Permitted jobs include office work, selling, assembling, delivery and errands, kitchen work, cleanup work (without using power-driven cutters or mowers), cleaning cars, at a gas station etc. These kids can work in food service, retail and gas service businesses.

There are also jobs that are not permitted. These include work in a garage involving lifting apparatus, racks or pits, work in manufacturing, processing or mining, jobs requiring power-driven machinery outside the office, or jobs as operators or helpers in motor vehicles. Jobs that are considered hazardous by the U.S. Secretary of Labor are prohibited. Note that work in freezers or meat coolers, engine rooms etc. are naturally not permitted. Kids may work in a warehouse only in office and clerical work.

Laws regarding 16 to 18-year-olds

16 and 17-year olds can be employed in any job for unlimited hours, as long as the job is non-hazardous. The U.S. Secretary of Labor defines what is hazardous to the health and well-being of minors.

There is a long list of prohibited jobs and industries that you should know about. These include jobs related to explosives, mining, logging, fighting forest fires, radioactive substances, power-driven equipment, brick and tile manufacturing etc. In some of these jobs, however, you can employ a 16 or 17-year-old as a student learner or apprentice.

18-year-olds in Texas don’t have any restrictions on how long they can work and in what kind of jobs, hazardous or not.

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