December 8, 2020
CHILD LABOR LAWS REMAIN THE SAME FOR VIRTUAL AND IN-PERSON STUDENTS
With students bouncing between virtual and in-person learning during the pandemic, the Child Labor section of the Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) is receiving a volume of inquiries from parents and school officials concerning hour restrictions for child labor.
According to ADOL Secretary Fitzgerald Washington, “Employers should be aware that Alabama’s Child Labor Laws remain in effect, even during a virtual school situation. ADOL continues to fine for hour violations so it’s important for employers to fully understand the laws in place.”
Minors aged 16-18 are permitted to work during the school day. However, they may not work between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. on any night preceding a school day (virtual or in person). They have no maximum number of hours and no breaks are required.
Minors aged 14-15 are not permitted to work during the school day. They may not work:
- Before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. on any day during the school year.
- During hours when school is in session from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
- More than three hours on any school day.
- More than eight hours on non-school days.
- More than six days or 18 hours per week.
This age group is also required to have a 30-minute break if they work more than five hours.
Minors can work at age 14 in Alabama. Employers who want to hire minors aged 14-17 must obtain a Child Labor Certificate from ADOL. The certificates can be found online at LABOR.ALABAMA.GOV. One certificate allows a business to employ as many minors as they need for an entire year.
The employer should have ready access to a government issued proof of age (driver’s license, learner’s permit, birth certificate, student ID, or any other city, county, state, or federal document). The employer should also document where the teen goes to school. ADOL has an Employee Information Form that can be helpful in maintaining this information. It can also be found online at LABOR.ALABAMA.GOV.
Minors aged 14 or 15 are required to have been in regular attendance and making satisfactory grades in school. They may obtain a statement of Eligibility to Work from their public school. Private and homeschool students may print the form from LABOR.ALABAMA.GOV.
Agricultural work is exempt from the Alabama Child Labor Law. Minors of any age may engage in work outside of formal employment such as babysitting, lawn mowing, tutoring, computer programming, and even lemonade stands. ADOL does not cover work that a teen performs at their own home.
Here are some additional rules for employing minors:
- 14 and 15-year-olds should not work in connection within any manufacturing or mechanical establishment, cannery, mill, workshop, warehouse, or machine shop.
- 14 and 15-year-olds should not work in the building trades, unless they are the immediate family of the contractor and their work involves nonhazardous duties.
- 14 and 15-year-olds should not work where alcohol is consumed on premises unless they are the children of the owner or operator.
- No one under 18 should work on or in connection with roofing operations.
- No one under 18 should operate power driven woodworking, metal cutting, or industrial bakery equipment. There are exceptions for this if the student is involved in a Career Tech program.
- No person under 18 should work in slaughtering, butchering, or meat cutting.
A complete list of prohibited occupations can be found at LABOR.ALABAMA.GOV.
The Child Labor staff is available to assist employers in making sure that they are safely employing minors. They are also available at no cost for training any individual, organization, or employer. For more information, contact ADOL’s Child Labor section at 334-956-7390 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of the media needing more information should contact Kelly Betts at 334.309.9013
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