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WECEP Legal Information

Child Labor Law Special Provisions for 14- and 15-Year Old WECEP Student Learners

The Work Experience and Career Exploration Program (WECEP) includes special provisions that permit 14- and 15-year old Work Based Learning (WBL) enrollees to be employed during school hours and in occupations otherwise prohibited by regulation.

WECEP is designed to provide a carefully planned work experience and career exploration program for 14- and 15-year old youths, including youths in WBL programs, who can benefit from a career-oriented educational program. WECEP is designed to meet the participants' needs, interests and abilities. Among other things, the program helps dropout-prone youths to become reoriented and motivated toward education and helps to prepare them for the world of work.

A state education agency with a school-to-work program may obtain approval from the Department of Labor for WBL enrollees participating in WECEP to be employed:

  • any time during school hours,
  • up to 3 hours on a school day,
  • up to 23 hours during a school week,
  • under variances granted by the Wage and Hour Administration that permit employment of WECEP participants in otherwise prohibited activities and occupations.*

Any representative of the Governor who is interested in establishing a WECEP may forward a letter of application to the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S3502, 200 Constitution Avenue N.W., Washington DC 20210. The provisions for WECEP are set by Regulations 29 CFR Part 570.35a. Approval to operate a WECEP is granted by the administrator of the Wage and Hour Division for a two-year period.

* Regulations do not permit issuance of WECEP variances in manufacturing, mining, or in any of the 17 hazardous occupations orders.

Occupations Prohibited or Permitted for WECEP Student Learners

A WECEP program allows enrolled 14- and 15-year olds to work in some occupations that are prohibited for 14- and 15-year olds not in the program.

Download a list of Occupations (PDF)