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Start Planning Now For Hiring Summer Teens

Many teenagers will soon look for summer jobs. While hiring minors (those under 18 years old) can be a great way to get part-time help and give back to the community, there are state and federal law requirements for youth employment.

Children of any age in North Carolina are generally permitted to work for businesses entirely owned by their parents, except those under 16 may not be employed in mining or manufacturing, and no one under 18 may be employed in any occupation the Secretary of Labor has declared to be hazardous or the Commissioner of Labor has declared to be detrimental.

Children under 14 years of age may not be employed in non-agricultural occupations, but they can work jobs that are not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act or the NC Wage and Hours Act. These jobs typically include:

  • actors or performers in motion pictures, theatrical, radio or television

  • productions, newspaper delivery, or completing minor chores around private homes or casual babysitting.

A work permit is required for all employees under age 18 and may be obtained here. Rules for all youths under 18 include:

  • Employment certificates are required.

  • Hazardous, detrimental and prohibited work is not permitted.

Additional rules for 16- and 17-year-olds include:

  • No work between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. when there is school the next day. Exception: When the employer gets written permission from the youth’s parents and principal.

Additional rules for 14- and 15-year-olds include:

  • Work can be performed at retail businesses, food service establishments, service stations and offices of other businesses.

  • Work is not permitted in manufacturing or mining, on construction sites, with power-driven machinery, or on the premises of a business holding an ABC permit for the on premises sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

  • Maximum hours per day: Three on school days; eight if a non-school day.

  • Maximum hours per week: 18 when school is in session; 40 when school is not in session.

  • Hours of the day: May work only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (except to 9 p.m. from June 1 to Labor Day)

  • Breaks: 30-minute breaks are required after any period of five consecutive hours of work.

These state youth employment provisions do not apply to farm, domestic or government work.

Although the list of hazardous and detrimental occupations is quite long, here are some jobs that minor employees cannot perform under NC law:


  • Mining

  • Logging

  • Operating power-driven machines or equipment

  • Operating a motor vehicle

  • Outside helper on motor vehicles

  • Working with radioactive materials

  • Meat packaging

  • Manufacturing brick or tile

  • Working with power saws

  • Demolition

  • Roofing

  • Welding, brazing, and torch cutting

  • Excavation

  • Exposure to lead, benzene, asbestos, or silicon dioxide

  • Work on machinery in canneries or seafood or poultry processing plants

  • Ladders or scaffold above 10 feet

  • Electrician work

  • Any work in confined spaces

  • Occupations requiring the use of respirators

  • Preparing, serving or selling alcoholic beverages

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