Are You in Compliance with Child Labor Laws?

Special thanks to Carolyne S. Kalson Esq., of the Law Office of Carolyne Kalson and Harry Appleheimer of Ocean County Vocational Technical School for writing the following article.


This summer, a local supermarket chain was fined $332,410.00, for violating child labor laws at eleven (11) supermarkets, in Ocean and Monmouth Counties.  The charges included allowing minors to work on paper bailors and other dangerous equipment.  In addition, teenagers were working in excess of the number of hours allowed under the Fair Labor Standards Act.


Federal and State child labor laws protect minors, anyone under age 18.  Minors under age 18 must receive a 30 minute meal break after five (5) consecutive hours of work (this does not apply to adults).  The rules differ for 14 - 15 year old and 16 - 17 year old minors.  While school is in session, 14 - 15 year old minors may not be employed more than three (3) hours per day on school days, more than eight (8) hours per day on non school days, and more than eighteen (18) hours per week in school weeks.


During school session, 16 - 17 year old minors may not be employed more than eight (8) hours per day, more than 40 hours per week and more than six (6) consecutive days.  There are also prohibited hours of work and prohibited occupations.  The law also requires posting a Notice on Employer premises.  Several pamphlets and posters are available from the New Jersey Department of Labor to guide employers in complying with the laws.


The NJDOL has a reference guide, “Labor Laws for Kids”, as well as a pamphlet “Child Labor Laws & Regulations” and a sample poster, “New Jersey Child Labor Law Abstract”.  Copies of these pamphlets and posters are available from the New Jersey Department of Labor, office of constituent relations, PO Box 110 Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0110, (609)777-3200.  You can also stop in to see Lucille Brown, Business Service Center Representative at 1027 Hooper Ave., Toms River, New Jersey 08753, for copies of these materials.  For more information, visit on the web.  However, keep in mind that this website discusses Federal Labor Laws.  As a general rule, New Jersey Labor Laws are more protective of minors and employees in general.  Be sure to check the state law and regulations.


Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and is not intended as legal advice.  The child labor laws differ depending on the nature and kind of employment as well as the age of the student.  It is suggested that you review the applicable laws and regulations annually or when ever you are hiring a minor at your workplace.