Youth Employment in Amusement and Recreation Establishments under (FLSA)

June 26, 2017

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that most employees be paid at least the applicable Federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at time and one-half the regular rate of pay after 40 hours in a workweek. The FLSA also includes child labor and recordkeeping provisions. The FLSA provides an exemption from minimum wage and overtime pay for many seasonal and recreational establishments, but this exemption does not include the child labor or recordkeeping provisions of the Act. Most amusement parks and recreation establishments are subject to, and must comply with, federal child labor provisions.


Child Labor Provisions of the FLSA

The Federal child labor provisions were enacted to protect the educational opportunities of minors and prohibit their employment in jobs and under conditions detrimental to their health or well-being.


18 Years Old and Older

Once youths reach 18 years of age, the Federal child labor provisions no longer apply to their employment.


16 and 17 Years Old

Youths 16 and 17 years of age may perform any nonhazardous job, for unlimited hours. The Secretary of Labor has declared 17 Hazardous Occupations Orders (HOs) which restrict the types of jobs and/or industries in which youth under 18 years of age may be employed. Although not exhaustive, the following list represents the most common tasks which occur at amusement parks and recreation establishments that are prohibited by one or more HO. Under the Federal child labor provisions, workers under 18 years of age generally may not:


14 and 15 Years Old

Youths 14 and 15 years old may be employed by amusement parks and recreation establishments, but only for certain periods of time and only in certain types of jobs.


Hours Limitations

The employment of 14- and 15-year-olds is limited to:


Also, 14- and 15-year-olds may not work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. (except from June 1 through Labor Day when the evening limit is extended to 9 p.m.).


Occupations Limitations

Fourteen- and 15-year-olds may not be employed in the following occupations often found at amusement parks and recreation establishments:


Fourteen-year-olds may not be employed as lifeguards. Fifteen-year-olds may, under specific conditions, be employed as lifeguards at traditional swimming pools and water amusement parks.


Minors 13 and Younger

Minors 13 years of age and younger are generally not allowed to work, including in amusement parks and recreation establishments. However, the FLSA does allow a parent who is the sole-owner of a business to employ his or her child in any occupations other than mining, manufacturing or those declared to be hazardous by the Secretary of Labor (HOs). Children employed as actors or performers in theatrical productions are also exempt from the child labor provisions.


Additional Information

For more information regarding the FLSA child labor provisions, including a complete list of all hazardous occupation orders, visit the YouthRules! website.

For more information regarding the Fair Labor Standard Act, visit the Wage and Hour Division website or call 1-866-4US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243).

When state child labor laws differ from the Federal provisions, an employer must comply with the higher standard. Links to your state labor department can be found at U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hours Division

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