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Child Labor Laws cover any employee under 18 years of age. Once an individual reaches age 18, they are considered an adult under child labor laws.
The Texas Child Labor Law ensures that a child is not employed in an occupation or manner that is harmful to the child's safety, health or well-being. It is illegal to employ a child under age 14 except under specific circumstances described on this page.
State law allows TWC to adopt rules regarding employing children. Our rules ensure that employment does not interfere with a child's education and does not pose a threat to the child's health, safety or general well-being.
TWC or its designee may inspect a place of business during work hours to collect information about the employment of children if there is good reason to believe a child is or has been employed within the last two years. Knowingly or intentionally hindering an investigation is illegal.
All businesses are subject to state law but only those businesses covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are subject to the federal law.
To determine whether a business is covered under the FLSA, please contact your local U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division or visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Reference Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act.
If in doubt, or when both Federal and State laws apply, businesses should follow the stricter guidelines.
When a business is owned or operated by a parent or legal custodian, the parent or custodian may employ their own children at any age to work any hours, so long as the work is non-hazardous (not prohibited) and the child works under the parent or custodian’s direct supervision.
In addition, Texas Child Labor Law does not apply to employment of a child who is:
It is illegal to employ a child under age 14 except under specific circumstances described on this page.
Children under age 14 may work as actors or performers in motion pictures, or in a theatrical, radio or television production, with TWC authorization. The parent or legal custodian must submit the Application for Child Actor/Performer Authorization or . You may also get the application form at your Workforce Solutions office or by calling our Labor Law Section at 800-832-9243.
Soliciting is considered a hazardous occupation. It is illegal to:
Under state law, but not federal law, a person may employ a child to operate a motor vehicle for a commercial purpose if the child:
State law prohibits employment of a child in a sexually oriented business, requires a sexually oriented business to maintain certain photographic identification records, and provides for a criminal penalty.
The provisions for selling or serving alcohol are not regulated by the Texas child labor laws. For those requirements, please consult the Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission.
A child age 16 or 17 has no restrictions on the number of hours or times of day they may work. There are hour restrictions only for children ages 14 and 15, with separate state and federal laws that cover their work hours. All businesses are subject to state law but only those businesses covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are subject to the federal law.
State law states that 14 and 15 year olds:
FLSA states that 14 and 15 year olds:
To request that TWC approve a hardship waiver of the hour restrictions for a child age 14 or 15 because it is necessary for the child to work to support themselves or their immediate family, follow the process described in Commission Rule Section §817.22.
A child who is age 14 or 15 may be employed in the following occupations in retail, food service, and gasoline service establishments:
A child who is age 14 or 15 may not be employed in:
A child who is age 16 or 17 may not be employed in the occupations listed below, except that those occupations shown with an asterisk (*) may have apprentice or student-learner exemptions for employment:
For the prohibited occupations listed above with an asterisk (*), a child who is age 16 or 17 may be employed as an apprentice or student learner.
If you observe immediate danger to a child, call the TWC Labor Law Section at 800-832-9243.
TWC Labor Law Section
101 E 15th St, Rm 124T
Austin, TX 78778-0001
Under the Texas Child Labor Law, TWC’s Labor Law Section investigates any child labor complaints and then issues a preliminary determination to the employer.
Violation of child labor law is a Class B misdemeanor with the exception that employing a child to sell or solicit is a Class A misdemeanor. If a person employs a child who does not meet the minimum age requirement for a type of employment, but did so in good faith relying on an apparently valid certificate of age or , then that may be a defense against prosecution.
If an employer violates child labor law, in addition to criminal penalties TWC may assess an administrative penalty against the employer up to $10,000 per violation.
If an employer disagrees with TWC’s preliminary determination--the violation, the penalty or both, there are two possible levels of appeals within TWC, each with different time limits. If an employer disagrees with the final decision of TWC, the employer may file a Petition for Judicial Review but must do so no later than 30 days after a Commission order assessing a penalty becomes final.
To learn how an employer can appeal our finding of a child labor law violation or penalty assessment, see Texas Child Labor Law Appeals.
The Attorney General may seek injunctive relief in district court against an employer who repeatedly violates child labor law requirements.