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The Law

What does the law say about working?

The U.S. Department of Labor has rules that apply to workers under the ages of 18, but, once you’re 18, there are no federal child labor rules. Also, all states have child labor standards.

According to the Department of Labor you are allowed to work. But your age and whether it’s during the school year determine how many hours each week you may work—and what type of work you may do.

In fact, there’s something called the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to this Act, you must be at least 14 years old for most work (so if you have a younger brother or sister, you can share that information with them). However, you can do some types of work no matter what your age. These jobs include:

  • Delivering newspapers
  • Performing for radio, television, movies or theater
  • Working in businesses owned by your parents (with certain exceptions)

Be an informed worker. Here’s some of what you need to know:

Minimum wage – As the name suggests, minimum wage is the lowest amount that any worker can be paid legally. As with any rule, however, there are exceptions to the minimum wage law. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Web site to learn what they are. You can also learn what the minimum wage laws are in each state.

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