Fair Labor Standards Act – Teen Workers in the Food Industry

The following information is from the OSHA website about laws involving minors under 18 at work in a restaurant:

  • Federal child labor rules are established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA child labor provisions are designed to protect the educational opportunities of youth and prohibit their employment in jobs and under conditions detrimental to their health or safety. Once a teen reaches age 18, federal child labor rules no longer apply.
    • For information on non-agricultural youth workers see: hours permitted and jobs permitted, some exemptions exist. For example, if you are 14 to 15 years of age, you may not perform jobs in the food service industry such as:
      • Cooking, except at soda fountains, lunch counters, snack bars, and cafeteria serving counters;
      • Baking;
      • Operating, setting up, adjusting, cleaning, oiling, or repairing power-driven food slicers, grinders, choppers, cutters, and bakery mixers;
      • Operating Neico broilers, pressurized fryers, rotisseries, lawn mowers and “weed whackers”;
      • Working in freezers or meat coolers;
      • Outside window washing, or work standing on a window sill, ladder, scaffold, or similar equipment;
      • Loading or unloading goods on or off trucks, railcars, or conveyors.

Teens younger than age 18 years of age, may not work in or with occupations defined as Hazardous Occupations (HO). Hazardous occupations that may be represented in the restaurant industry and are not allowed for employees younger than 18 include:

  • 29 CFR 570.61, Occupations in the operation of power-driven meat-processing machines and occupations involving slaughtering, meat packing or processing, or rendering (Order 10)
  • 29 CFR 570.62, Occupations involved in the operation of bakery machines (Order 11)