Law Office of Jeffrey D. Fulton

An overview of California’s child labor laws

If you live and work in California, your employer must adhere to the state’s wage and hour laws, and if you have a child in the state’s workforce, their employer, too, must follow laws regarding the employment of minors. At the Law Office of Jeffrey D. Fulton, we have a firm understanding of California’s child labor laws, and we have helped many families whose children were taken advantage of by their employers seek recourse.

The California Department of Industrial Relations is the governing body responsible for setting guidelines regarding child labor laws, and the rules that govern your child’s ability to work in the state vary based on his or her age. Children who are 12 and 13, for example, may not lawfully work on school days at all, although they can work on holidays, vacation days and, typically, weekends. When school is not in session, 12 and 13-year-olds can work as much as eight hours a day or 40 hours per week, but not more. They can also typically work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., although they can work until 9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day.

Those who are 14 and 15 and have completed seventh grade may work while school is in session, but only for three hours on school days, or eight hours on non-school days, though their hours worked may not exceed 18 in a week. When school is not in session, they may work up to eight hours a day, and 40 hours per week, with their workable hours the same as those set for 12 and 13-year-olds.

California’s 16 and 17-year-olds who have completed seventh grade may work up to four hours on a school day and up to eight on a non-school day, or a day immediately before a non-school day, and they may work as much as 48 hours in a week. When school is not in session, they may work up to eight hours a day and up to 48 hours per week. In most cases, these teens can work between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 p.m., though they may work as late as 12:30 a.m. if they do not have school the next day. More about California wage and hour laws is available on our web page.

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