Pennsylvania L&I Secretary Reminds Public of Child Labor Law During Summer Break

Jun 01, 2010, 15:43 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the school year draws to a close, Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Sandi Vito today reminded Pennsylvanians that the state's child labor law limits working hours and types of work that may be performed by employees under age 18.

"Summer employment offers Pennsylvania's young people the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and earn a paycheck," Vito said. "Those who employ young people must follow the laws that ensure a safe, positive experience."

Pennsylvania's Child Labor Law protects the health, safety and welfare of minors employed in Pennsylvania by restricting employment in certain establishments, the hours of work, work conditions and occupations involved.

The law covers three age groups: less than 14 years of age, 14- and 15-year-olds, and 16- and 17-year-olds. Children under age 14 may not be employed in any occupation; however, they are permitted to work on a family farm or in domestic service, such as lawn or house chores. Other exceptions are made for caddies, newspaper carriers and – with special permits – juvenile entertainment performers.

During the summer, 14 – and 15–year-olds may only work between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and no more than eight hours a day, or 44 hours a week. They are also required to have a vacation certificate for each job. For some occupations, such as newspaper delivery, caddies and some farm work, different standards may apply.  

Youth ages 16 and 17 may work a maximum of eight hours a day, or 44 hours a week during summer vacation, with no night work limits. They are required to have a transferable work permit if they change jobs.

Youth under age 18 may not work in any occupation considered dangerous to life or limb, or harmful to their morals. Exceptions include authorized apprenticeships, student learners and graduates of an approved vocational, technical or industrial-education curriculum that prepares students for the specific work.

Dangerous occupations include electrical, explosive and excavating work, heavy or cutting machinery, welding, wrecking and demolition, roofing, mining, freight elevators and many railroad jobs.

Minors may not work more than six days a week, and must be allowed a 30-minute meal period on or before five consecutive hours of work. Full- or part-time minors must be paid at least minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour.  

Workers who are 18 years and older are not subject to child labor laws. A 17-year-old who has graduated or has withdrawn from high school is treated as an 18-year-old, and is not subject to child labor laws; however, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act may apply.

Editor's Note: The federal child labor law also applies in Pennsylvania. Where they overlap, the more stringent of the two laws takes precedence in favor of the young worker. More information is available by calling L&I's Bureau of Labor Law Compliance toll-free at 1-800-932-0665, or go to, click "Laws and Regulations" in the left navigation area, then click "Laws."

Media contact: Sarah Cassin, 717-787-7530

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry