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Child Labor Laws

Activities Prohibited Under Hazardous Occupations Orders

HO1 – Manufacturing and storing explosives

HO2 – Motor-vehicle driving and outside helper

HO3 – Coal mining

HO4 – Logging and saw milling

HO5 – Using power-driven woodworking machines including saws

HO6 – Exposure to radioactive substances

H07 – Operating of power-driven hosting devices, including forklifts, cranes, and non- automatic elevators

HO8 – Use of power-drive metal forming, punching, and shearing machines

HO9 – Mining other than coal mining

HO10* – Slaughtering or meat-packing, processing or rendering including the use of power-driven meat slicers

HO11 – Operation of power-driven bakery machines

HO12* – Use of power-driven paper product machines including paper balers

HO13 – Manufacturing of brick, tile, and similar products

HO14* – Use of circular saws, band saws, and guillotine shears

HO15- Wreaking, demolition and ship-breaking

HO16* – Roofing operations

HO17* – Excavating including work in a trench as a plumber

The above list provides a general overview.  To obtain a list of specific occupations, hazardous equipment and a detailed explanation contact:

Nebraska Department of Labor | 402.471.9000


Federal and State Child Labor Laws Non-Agricultural Limited Occupations

FEDERAL – Based on protecting the safety and health/well-being of a young person, employers may not allow minors to perform work that has been determined by the Secretary of Labor to be hazardous.  The Hazardous Occupation Orders (HOs) prohibit persons under the age of 18 from engaging in occupations and activities as shown on the left.

Exemptions:  Student-learners aged 16 or 17 enrolled in enrolled in career and technical education programs that meet the minimum components may be employed on a limited basis in the seven HOs listed with an asterisk (*) if they are employed under a written agreement. Under this regulation, the agreement must provide that:

  • Any work performed by a student in the hazardous occupation must be incidental to his or her training;
  • Any work performed that is considered hazardous is intermittent and for short periods of time, only under the close supervision of a qualified person;
  • Student receives safety instruction; and
  • A schedule of progressive skill-building work processes is in place.

Child Labor Law Changes

The FLSA Child Labor Laws became effective February 14, 2005, expanding protections for youth working in restaurant cooking, roofing, driving and other areas. Read federal child labor provisions for detailed information.

The following fact/information sheets can be downloaded from the U.S. Department of Labor website.

  • Restaurant Employer Self-Assessment Tool
  • Fact Sheet #2A:  Rules for Employing Youth in Restaurants and Quick-Service Establishments under the FLSA
  • Fact Sheet #34:  Hazardous Occupations Order No. 2 Youth Provision and Driving Automobiles and Trucks under the FLSA
  • Fact Sheet: Teen Driving on the Job
  • Grocery Employer Self-Assessment Tool
  • Fact Sheet #38:  Application of the Federal Child Labor Provisions of the FLSA to Grocery Stores
  • Fact Sheet #58:  Cooking and Baking under the Federal Youth Employment Provisions of the FLSA
  • Fact Sheet #37: Application of the Federal Child Labor Provision to Amusement Parks and Recreation Establishment
  • Fact Sheet #52: The Health Care Industry and Youth Employment
  • Fact Sheet #57:  Hazardous Occupations Order No. 12 Rules for Employing Youth and the Loading of Power-Driven Balers and compactors under the FLSA
  • Fact Sheet: Roofing and Work On or About a Roof
  • Construction Employer’s Quick Guide to Teen Worker Rules

Driving “On-the-Job” Restrictions

NO employee under 17 years of age may drive on public roadways as a part of his or her job if that employment is subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act. (FLSA).  (A 16-year-old, who holds a valid driver’s license, may drive to and from work.)

For current details: USDOL Teen “Driving on the Job” Rules.

Laws Affecting 14 and 15 Year Olds

Additional Activities Prohibited Under Child Labor Regulation 3

In addition to the Hazardous Occupations listed on the previous page that are prohibited for minors under the age of 18, Child Labor Regulation 3 prohibits the employment of persons aged 14 and 15 in the occupations and activities listed below:

  • Manufacturing, mining, and processing
  • Most transportation jobs
  • Cooking (new regulations apply)
  • Work in warehouses and workrooms
  • Public messenger service
  • Work on construction sites other than in the office
  • Any job involving power-driven machinery including hoists, conveyor belts and lawnmowers.

No Exceptions to Occupation Limitations

Occupation limitations are strictly enforced for 14 and 15-year-old youth with no exceptions or exemptions. The student-learner provisions applicable to some Hazardous Occupations for youth 16 and 17 years of age DO NOT apply to minors under the age of 16.

Work Experience and Career Exploration Programs (WECEP)

This is a one- or two-year federally approved transition program designed for students, ages 14 and 15, who have had difficulties with their school experiences.  Variances may be granted by the Administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division under limited conditions to a student employed under a WECEP program to engage in some activities otherwise prohibited by Child Labor Regulation 3. This DOES NOT include the Hazardous Occupation orders.

Hours of Work for 14 and 15 year olds, Nebraska State Law (all employers):

  • No more than 3 hours on a school day
  • No more than 8 hours in one day
  • No more than 48 hours in one week
  • Not before 6 a.m. nor after 10 p.m.
  • Not before 7 a.m. nor after 7 p.m. (9 p.m. from June 1 – Labor Day)

New Minimum Wage Law Changes*

Minimum Wage

  • $12.00 per hour effective 1/1/24
  • Employers having 4 or more full-time or part-time employees are subject to minimum wage law
  • People compensated by tips ($2.13 per hour plus gratuities.  Sum of $2.13 plus tips must equal or exceed $12.00 per hour or employer must make up the difference.

Nebraska Child Labor Law Information

Minors in Agricultural Employment

Child Labor Laws | Agricultural Employment

Agricultural work includes farming in all branches, such as the cultivation and tillage of soil; the production, cultivation, growing and harvesting of any agricultural or horticultural commodities; dairy production; the raising of livestock, bees, fur-bearing animals or poultry; and any practices (including forestry or lumbering operations) performed by a farmer or on a farm as incidental to, or in conjunction with, such farming operations, including the preparation for market, delivery to storage, market or carriers for transportation to market.

(A more detailed explanation of agricultural work activities and exemptions can be found in 29 CFR 780. The U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division Office can assist in determining whether proposed jobs for students in an agricultural career field will constitute agricultural work for purposes of the FLSA.)

Eligibility for exemptions must adhere to the following criteria:

Student-learners must be employed under a signed written agreement among the school, employer, student and parent/guardian that provides for:

  • Any work in a hazardous occupation to be incidental to the training;
  • Any work in a hazardous activity to be intermittent and for short periods only under the direct and close supervision of a qualified person;
  • On-going safety instruction; and
  • A specific schedule of progressive work processes.

Hours of Work for Minors

  • Persons 16 years of age and older may be employed in any farm job at any time.
  • Persons 14 and 15 years of age may be employed outside school hours in any agricultural occupation not declared hazardous.
  • With written parental consent, 12 and 13 year olds may be employed outside school hours in any non- hazardous job on the same farm where their parents are employed.
  • Minors under 12 years of age may be employed outside school hours in any hazardous job with written parental consent but only on farms not subject to the minimum wage provision of the FLSA.

Minors of any age may perform work at any time on a farm owned or operated by the minor’s parents or person standing in place of the parents.

Prohibited Hazardous Occupations/Activities in Agriculture

The Secretary of Labor has designated Hazardous Occupations that apply to 14 and 15 year olds engaged in agricultural work, and to those younger children permitted to work on farms under limited circumstances:

  • Operating or assisting in the operation of specified machinery and equipment;
  • Working in a yard, pen, or stall occupied by specified animals;
  • Felling, loading, bucking or skidding timber more than six inches in diameter;
  • Working from a ladder or scaffold at a height of over 20 feet;
  • Driving a vehicle transporting passengers or riding on a tractor;
  • Working in certain silos, storage areas and manure pits; and
  • Handling toxic chemicals, blasting agents and anhydrous ammonia.

EXEMPTIONS:  Exemptions from the hazardous occupations order applying to tractors and certain other farm machinery apply to 14 and 15 year old students enrolled in state approved career and technical education programs and holders of a certificate completion of training under 4-H programs.

WAGES: Students engaged in agricultural work must be paid the minimum wage unless an exception applies.  Full-time students engaged in agricultural work may be paid a subminimum wage of 85 percent of the minimum wage. In addition, under the exemptions listed in Section 13 of the FLSA, small farmers, who employed fewer than 500 person days the previous quarter, may be exempt from paying their employees the minimum wage.

Child Labor Bulletin 102: Youth Employment Provision for Agricultural Occupations under FLSA; (Revised 11/2016) contains detailed information on laws specific to youth employed in agricultural occupations.

Additional Legal Requirements

Affirmative Action

Protected minority groups, as defined under Federal Executive Order, include African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, and women. Educational institutions and employers must not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sex, marital, or veteran status. Written training agreements between schools and businesses should include an affirmative action statement.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Employers with 15 or more employees must comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA requirements which relate to work-based learning are briefly outlined here.

General Requirements

  • All government facilities, services and communications must be accessible and consistent with the requirements of Sec. 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
  • Public accommodations such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctors’ offices, pharmacies, retail stores, museums, libraries, parks, private schools, and day care centers, may not discriminate on the basis of disability.
  • Private clubs and religious organizations are exempt. Reasonable changes in policies, practices, and procedures must be made to avoid discrimination.

Physical Barriers

  • Physical barriers in existing facilities must be removed, if removal is readily achievable.  If not, alternative methods of providing the services must be offered, if they’re readily achievable.
  • All new construction in public accommodations, as well as in “commercial facilities” such as office buildings, must be accessible.
  • Alterations must be accessible.

Auxiliary Aids

  • Auxiliary aids and services must be provided to individuals with vision or hearing impairments or other individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would result.
  • Companies offering telephone service to the general public must offer telephone relay service to individuals who use telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDDs) or similar devices.


  • Employers may not discriminate against an individual with a disability in hiring or promotion if the person is otherwise qualified for the job.
  • Employers can ask about one’s ability to perform a job, but cannot inquire if the person has a disability, or subject a person to tests that tend to screen out people with disabilities.
  • Employers will need to provide “reasonable accommodations” to individuals with disabilities.  This includes steps such as job restructuring and modification of equipment.
  • Employers do not need to provide accommodations that impose an “undue hardship” on business operations.

Sexual Harassment

All employees and students participating in a WBL program have the right to work in an environment which respects human dignity and is free from sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when:

Submission to that conduct or communication is made a term or condition of obtaining employment/participation in the program;


Submission to or rejection of that conduct or communication is used as a factor in decisions affecting the individual’s employment/participation in the program;


That conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s employment or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment environment, and company management knows or should know of the existence of the harassment and fails to take timely and appropriate action.

Students should be taught how to recognize sexual harassment and abuse. They should also receive training regarding the school’s and business’s sexual harassment policy and reporting procedure.

Data Privacy

The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects information about students and their records from public disclosure. It is important for employers to receive information (e.g., social security numbers, school grades, and courses taken) prior to a student entering or while they are participating in a WBL program. This information cannot be provided to the employer without a proper release of information being signed. When the student is under 18 years of age his/her legal guardian must sign the Release of Information Form. Students over 18 years of age (as long as they are their own guardian) may sign their own release of information form.

It is recommended that students involved in WBL activities in areas where there is potential contact with body fluids or wastes receive the Hepatitis A and B series vaccine.  Students working in the food service area are also recommended to have the Hepatitis A vaccine.

The following is an excerpt taken from the AMA’s Administrative Guide titled:  For your Protection OSHA Regulations on Blood Borne Pathogens: Employers are required to offer the Hepatitis B vaccine free of charge to personnel at risk.  Employees, however, are not obligated to receive the vaccine.  Any at-risk employee who wishes not to receive it must sign a copy of the OSHA’s Hepatitis B vaccine declination.  (Legal guardians must sign for a WBL student who is under 18 years of age.) If the person later decides to receive the vaccine, the employer must again offer the series free of charge. Technically, in non-paid work experiences the school is the employer and must provide the vaccine.

Updated April 29, 2024 9:03am