California Child Labor laws & HR compliance analysis

California Child Labor: What you need to know

In California, people who have not reached the age of 18 and are required to attend school are considered minors for purposes of employment, unless they have graduated from high school, have an equivalency degree (GED), or are otherwise not required to attend school. Nonresidents of the state who would be subject to California's compulsory education laws are also considered minors under the state's child labor law. California law restricts the occupations in which minors may be employed and the number of hours and times they may work. Further distinctions are made according to age, with special rules and exceptions in some groups (CA Lab. Code Sec. 1285et seq.; CA Veh. Code Sec. 12515; CA Bus. and Prof. Code Sec. 25663).
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California child labor law is extensive and complex with hundreds of prohibitions, exceptions, and caveats; therefore, employers should consult the state Department of Industrial Relations before employing minors in uncommon occupations or during unusual hours.
Exemptions. The state child labor provisions do not apply to self-employed minors; odd jobs such as babysitting and yard work; and minors working for their parents in agriculture, horticulture, or domestic labor. Parents must obtain a work permit for their minor children to work in their manufacturing, retail, or other enterprises.
What follows is a partial list of occupations closed to minors of various ages. The complete list is extensive and involves both federal and state law. California prohibitions include by reference all the occupations federal regulations consider hazardous for minors or detrimental to their health or well-being.
Prohibitions. No person under the age of 21 may be ...

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