We have a contract for the removal of snow on an installation. The awardee would like a minor (a 16 year old with a school work permit) to perform on the subject contract. Is there any type of regulation or Department of Labor restriction that would prohibit this?
The federal child labor provisions, also known as the child labor laws, are authorized by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, as amended, May 2011 (WH Publication 1318, Revised). These provisions were enacted to ensure that when young people work, the work is safe and does not jeopardize their health, well-being or educational opportunities.
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While allowing a minor to perform certain duties within a contract may be acceptable, what is not allowable is engaging in a contract action directly with a minor under the age of 18 years old. And, in general, the "oppressive child labor" rule doesn't come into effect unless the child is under the of 16 years old (i.e., see 29 U.S.C., sec. 203(f)I(1)).
However, state laws may have higher standards than that even imposed by federal statutes regarding child labor practices. When these apply, the more stringent standard must be observed. All states have child labor provisions and establish the minimum ages and conditions under which youths may perform certain duties. Therefore, recommend you consult with your legal counsel in order to ensure the state's minimum requirements where the contract performance will be executed are upheld. Or you may contact the Department of Labor Wage and Hour division office in your state via the following website for contact information: http://www.dol.gov/whd/index.htm