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Texas Child Labor Laws

texas child labor laws

Are you looking for new employees for your business in Texas?

If you are an employer, you are sure to know that there are restrictions on who you can employ and how long they can work. In the state of Texas, it is illegal to employ anyone under the age of fourteen.

While the child labor law covers a lot of bases, there are also exceptions to the rule. Therefore, it is essential to know the child labor law in detail to prevent getting into trouble.

So, let’s take a closer look at the Texas child labor laws and how to legally employ people under the age of eighteen.

texas child labor laws

Child Labor Laws

The child labor laws in Texas control the employment of children and teenagers in the state of Texas. These laws state the ages, times, and types of work they are allowed to perform. Children aged 13 years or younger are not usually allowed to work in Texas, except in some limited circumstances.

Teenagers aged 14 and 15 can take on some jobs, although there are strict controls on the number of hours per day. Teenagers aged 16 and 17 can take on a larger range of jobs. However, they cannot take on jobs that are considered to be too hazardous.

texas child labor law

Working Hour Restrictions In Texas

Even children who are allowed to work in Texas have strict limits on daily and weekly hours. These restrictions are put in place to make sure that work does not interfere with the minor’s education.

Minors under the age of sixteen

It is possible to work up to eight hours a day on weekends and during school holidays. Children can work up to 48 hours per week during school holidays. The earliest starting hour is 5:00 am, and work must stop before 10:00 pm.

Minors aged 16 and 17

There are technically no restrictions on the number of hours teenagers can work. However, while school is in session, 16 and 17-year-olds must attend all classes unless they are sick.

Exemptions To Child Labor Laws In Texas

There are certain exemptions to these child labor laws that should be taken into account. Here are some of the main times when children in Texas are not controlled by child labor laws:

  • If the child works under the direct supervision of their parent or guardian
  • If the child works in a family business
  • Children aged 11 and older are allowed to deliver newspapers
  • Teenagers aged 16 and older are allowed to sell newspapers
  • If the child takes part in a school-supervised work-study program
  • Children can work in agriculture on weekends and during school holidays
  • Children can work in a rehabilitation program supervised by a county judge

the texas child labor law

Hardship Waiver

If the family of the child is living below the poverty line, it may be necessary for the child to work. In this case, the child and their legal guardian will need to apply for a hardship waiver. This special document applies to teenagers aged 14 and 15 and exempts them from the working hours limitation.

The hardship application has to contain the following information:

  • details of the intended employment
  • details of the intended working hours
  • a written statement explaining that the child needs to work to support their family
  • a written statement from the principal of the child’s school approving their decision to work

The intended employer also needs to complete a written statement. This statement should include the following information:

  • details of the work the child would perform
  • the child’s hourly pay
  • the number of hours the child would work
  • the intended length of employment

After the application has been submitted, the Texas Workforce Commission will review the application and ask for more information if necessary. They may also ask to meet with the child, their guardian, and an educator. If the hardship waiver is approved, it typically lasts for a year and can be extended after another review.

Hazardous Occupations

Under the child labor laws, children cannot be employed in hazardous jobs. This includes any task that could put the safety, health, or well-being of the child at risk. As part of federal regulation FLSA Child Labor Laws, the US Department of Labor has outlined many hazardous occupations.

the texas child labor laws

Employment Certificates In Texas

Employment Certificates are also known as Work Permits and are not required for minors to work in Texas. However, employers need to make sure that they comply with all Texas child labor regulations and restrictions.

Certificate of Age

A child aged 14 years or older can apply to the Texas Workforce Commission to get a certificate of age. The certificate of age states the child’s date of birth and is needed to prove that the child is old enough to work.

To get a certificate of age, a child must submit the following:

  • a completed form from the Texas Workforce Commission
  • a recent photograph measuring 1½ inches by 1½ inches
  • proof of age

There is a range of documents that can be used as proof of age. This includes a baptismal certificate, a passport, or the child’s school record.

More Info And Advice On Labor Laws

Firstly, we found some interesting reads on the history of child labor and how things have changed drastically. Take a look at The Child Labor Reform Movement: An Interactive History Adventure, the Industrial Violence and the Legal Origins of Child Labor, Child Labor in America: The Epic Legal Struggle to Protect Children, or even The History Of Child Labour Law: The Sad Truths About Child Labour In History: Young Workers, but that’s not all…

We also found the Kids Had Jobs: Life before Child Labor Laws – History Book for Kids, a different Child Labor: An American History, or what about The Glass House Boys of Pittsburgh: Law, Technology, and Child Labor, and finally the Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor all available online in 2023.

If you’d like to read up on child labor laws for more than just Texas, then we recommend the Child labor laws in all the states book, The Challenge of Child Labour in International Law, the Child labor and the law: Myth and reality of welfare measures, as well as the Child Labor Legislation: Schedules Of Existing Statutes And The Standard Child Labor Law Embodying The Best Provisions Of The Most Effective Measures Now In Force. Handbook for further insight.

Final Thoughts

If you are an employer, it is important to follow the child labor laws in Texas. People who break these laws in any way are charged with a Class B misdemeanor. However, if the child is working in a hazardous occupation, the employer will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

It is possible to be charged for several different violations at the same time, and the fine can be up to $10,000. Considered factors include the nature, seriousness, and extent of the violation.

Not only is violating the child labor laws expensive, but it can also do serious damage to an employer’s reputation.

So, remember to follow the law, and you’ll have no problems!

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