Brush up on Texas’ Child Labor Laws
With the summer season comes increased interest in hiring high school aged employees to work in hotel properties. If you are seeking to hire any employees under the age of 18, this brief guide will assist in legal consideration you should take into account.
It is important to note that, as with all legal issues, it is advisable to check with your ownership and/or brand legal counsel, to ensure the standards you adopt are consistent with your brand or corporate management.
Minimum legal age at which a child may be employed by a lodging property
Generally, we suggest that lodging properties do not employ children under the age of 14. Under both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and Chapter 51 of the Texas Labor Code, it is unlawful to employ a child under the age of 14, unless certain narrow exceptions apply such as work in a business owned by the parent or custodian and under the supervision of the parent or custodian, or non-hazardous casual employment that will not endanger the safety health, or well-being of the child and to which the parent or custodian has consented.
1. School days
According to the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act, youths aged 14 and 15 may only work between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., and outside of school hours. Between June 1st and Labor Day, 14 and 15 year-olds may work between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
There are no time restrictions on youths age 16 or older.
Between June 1 and Labor Day, youths aged 14 and 15 may work between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. There are no hour restrictions on youths age 16 or older.
3. Maximum hours
Youths age 14 and 15:
- No more than 3 hours a day on school days, including Fridays;
- No more than 18 hours per week in school weeks;
- No more than 8 hours a day on non-school days;
- No more than 40 hours per week when school is not in session;
- No more than 48 hours per week at any time (subject to overtime regulations).
Youths age 16 or older may work for unlimited hours—of course subject to all overtime regulations
Current federal and state minimum wage for non-tipped employees is $7.25 per hour.
Job Duties – Permissible Duties
A. Employees who are 14 or 15 years old:
Chapter 51 of the Texas Labor Code permits children age 14 or 15 to be employed in the following occupations in retail, food service and gasoline service establishments:
- Office and clerical work (including operation of office machines).
- Cashiering, selling, modeling, art work, work in advertising departments, window trimming and comparative shopping.
- Price marking and tagging by hand or by machine. Assembling orders, packing and shelving.
- Bagging and carrying out customers’ orders.
- Errand and delivery work by foot, bicycle, and public transportation.
- Cleanup work, including the use of vacuum cleaners, floor waxers, and maintenance of grounds, but not including the use of power-driven mowers or cutters.
- Kitchen work and other work involved in preparing and serving food and beverages, including the operation of machines and devices used in the performance of such work such as, but not limited to, dishwashers, toasters, dumbwaiters, popcorn poppers, milk shake blenders, and coffee grinders. But note the restrictions on cooking below.
- Work in connection with cars and trucks if confined to the following:
- Dispensing gasoline and oil
- Courtesy service on premises of gasoline service station
- Car cleaning, washing and polishing
- But not including work involving the use of pits, racks or lifting apparatus or involving the inflation of any tire mounted on a rim equipped with a removable retaining ring.
- Cleaning vegetables and fruits, and wrapping, sealing, labeling, weighing, pricing and stocking goods when performed in areas physically separate from areas where meat is prepared for sale and outside freezers or meat coolers.
- 15 years-old (not 14). Employment of 15-year-olds as lifeguards at traditional swimming pools, lazy rivers, water falls, sprinkler areas and baby pools are permitted when the individual has been trained and certified by the American Red Cross, or a similar certifying organization, in aquatics and water safety.
Job Duties – Impermissible Duties
Chapter 51 of the Texas Labor Code does not permit children age 14 or 15 to be employed in the following occupations in retail, food service and gasoline service establishments:
- Manufacturing, mining, or processing occupations, including occupations requiring the performance of any duties in work rooms or work places where goods are manufactured, mined, or otherwise processed;
- Occupations which involve the operation or tending of hoisting apparatus or of any power-driven machinery other than office machines;
- The operation of motor vehicles or service as helpers on such vehicles;
- Public messenger service;
- Occupations which the Secretary of Labor may, pursuant to Section 3(l) of the Fair Labor Standards Act and Reorganization Plan No. 2, issued pursuant to the Reorganization Act of 1945, find and declare to be hazardous for the employment of minors between 16 and 18 years of age or detrimental to their health or well-being;
- Occupations in connection with:
- Transportation of persons or property by rail, highway, air, water, pipeline, or other means;
- Warehousing and storage;
- Communications and public utilities;
- Construction (including demolition and repair);
- Work performed in or about boiler or engine rooms;
- Work in connection with maintenance or repair of the establishment or equipment;
- Outside window washing that involves working from window sills, and all work requiring the use of ladders, scaffolds, or their substitutes;
- Including the use of electric and gas grilles that entail cooking over an open flame;
- Including the use of deep fryers that are not equipped with and utilize devices that automatically lower and raise the baskets into and out of oil or grease.
- Including the cleaning of kitchen surfaces and non-power driven kitchen equipment – including the filtering, transporting, and dispensing of oil and grease – but only when the temperature of the surfaces, equipment, oil and grease exceeds 100 F.
- Occupations which involve operating, setting up, adjusting, cleaning, oiling, or repairing power-driven food slicers and grinders, food choppers, and cutters, and bakery-type mixers;
- Work in freezers and meat coolers and all work in the preparation of meats for sale;
- Loading or unloading goods to and from trucks, railroad cars, or conveyors;
- All occupations in warehouses except office and clerical work.
Job Duties – Impermissible Duties
B. All employees who are under 18 years old
The U.S. Secretary of Labor has determined that the following jobs are considered “hazardous” and are not permitted for any employees under the age of 18.
- In or about plants or establishments manufacturing or storing explosives
- Driving a motor vehicle on any public roadway (but note that 17-year-olds may drive cars or small trucks under certain limited circumstances)
- Connected with coal mining
- Involving logging operations and sawmill operations; forest fire prevention
- Operating or assisting to operate power-driven woodworking machines
- Involving exposure to radioactive substances and to ionizing radiations
- Operating or assisting to operate power-driven hoisting apparatus such as elevators, cranes, derricks, hoists, and high-lift trucks
- Operating or assisting to operate power-driven metal forming, punching, and shearing machines
- In connection with mining, other than coal
- Operating or assisting to operate power-driven meat processing machines
- Operating or assisting to operate power-driven bakery machines (16 and 17 year-olds may operate some bakery machines under limited circumstances)
- Involving the operating of power-driven paper-products machines, scrap paper balers and paper box compactors (16 and 17 year-olds may load but not operate or unload under limited circumstances)
- Manufacturing brick, tile and kindred products
- Operating or assisting to operate power-driven circular saws, band saws and guillotine shears
- Wrecking, demolition and ship-breaking operations
- Roofing operations and work on or about a roof
- Trenching and Excavation operations
In Texas, minors aged 14 and older can work without parental consent. If an employer chooses to do so, he or she may require the youth to submit a “Certificate of Age” form, available at the Texas Workforce Commission website. This form requires submission of documentation as proof of age, such as a birth certificate, a recent photograph, and the signature of a parent, guardian or custodian. However, employers are not required by law to request the Certificate of Age.
The Texas Workforce Commission requires employers who hire children to display a child labor law poster in a prominent location that will be seen by employees. Additionally, minimum wage and other posters are always required to be displayed in the workplace.
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) can be contacted with questions at (800) 832-9243 or you can view information on the Texas child labor law at the TWC website at www.twc.state.tx.us/ui/lablaw/cllsum.html. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor’s website contains information about federal child labor law at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/child-labor. Finally, THLA is always ready to answer you legal questions. Contact us by phone at 512.474.2996 or email.