What is child labor? The child labor provisions of the Fair Labor
Standards Act (FLSA) prohibit employers from hiring minors (individuals under
the age of 18) to work at dangerous occupations, for an excessive number of
hours, and at unsuitable times of the day or night. States also have child
labor laws and when state and federal laws differ, the stricter law applies.
There are separate rules for minors under 18, under 16, and under 14 years
of age, both on the number of hours and times of the day and year they may
work, as well as the types of work that they are allowed to perform. In addition,
there are rules on proof of age, minors driving motor vehicles, minimum wage
rates, children working in agriculture, and work under federal contracts.
Severe penalties may be imposed on employers that violate child labor laws.
Employers are prohibited from retaliating or otherwise discriminating against
an employee who files a complaint or participates in a legal proceeding under
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