Your child has come to you and said that they'd like to start making some money this summer.  What's the earliest they can start legally making money?

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It's an exciting time as a kid when you start to think about all the things you can do when you start making money.  So what's the earliest you can jump into the workforce?

Why are there child labor laws?

If a kid wants to start working, why can't they just start?  Child labor laws exist for a reason.  They were started in 1938 to ensure that the work that kids got into wouldn't jeopardize their health, well-being, or educational opportunities.

How early can kids begin working?

Laws vary by state, and by occupation.  So, for example, laws for retail will be different than they will be for farms.  And they could be different in Texas from the ones that exist in New York.

Most places won't give your child trouble if they want to open a lemonade stand or a car wash to make a couple of bucks, but if they're thinking about being employed by someone, there are laws that apply.

In general, the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) uses 14 as a minimum age for employment.

Click here to see more on the age requirements.

What are the jobs that will allow kids to work under the age of 14?

There are a couple of jobs that will allow kids under the age of 14 to work.  They include:

  • Agriculture/Farming
  • Babysitting
  • Newspaper Delivery
  • Acting/Performing
  • Work as a homeworker gathering evergreens and making evergreen wreaths (Weird..and very specific...I know)
  • Performing minor chores around a home
  • Working for a business that is entirely owned by their parents

Click here to see more about how different laws affect different occupations.

Are there limitations to the number of hours kids can work?

Students of 14 and 15 enrolled in approved Work Experience and Career Exploration programs may work during school hours up to 3 hours on a school day and 23 hours in a school week.

For kids under the age of 16 in New York State, they are allowed to work a maximum of 8 hours per day, a maximum of 40 hours per week, and a maximum of 6 days per week. But they can only work 3 hours per day on a school day and 18 hours per week while school is in session.

For kids that are the ages of 16 and 17 in New York State, they are allowed to work a maximum of 8 hours per day, a maximum of 48 hours per week, and a maximum of 6 days per week.

Click here to see the state laws that apply to minors working in New York State.

 

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