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Things Every Parent Should Know About Illinois Child Labor Laws

May 29, 2024

Parents play a vital role in ensuring the well-being of their children, including their rights in the
workforce. Illinois child labor laws are designed to protect minors from exploitation and ensure
they have access to education while working. Understanding these laws is crucial for parents to
safeguard their children's rights and well-being.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the minimum age for employment and regulates
working conditions for minors at the federal level. However, states like Illinois may have
additional regulations that provide further protection for young workers.

In Illinois, the Child Labor Law governs the employment of minors under the age of 16. It
outlines restrictions on the types of work minors can perform, as well as the hours and conditions
under which they can work. These laws aim to balance the educational needs of minors with
their employment opportunities.

Minimum Age for Employment

One of the primary provisions of Illinois child labor laws is the minimum age for employment.
Generally, minors must be at least 14 years old to work in non-agricultural jobs. However, there
are exceptions for certain industries and types of work.

For example, children as young as 11 years old may deliver newspapers or work as actors or
performers in certain entertainment productions with proper permits and supervision.
Additionally, minors aged 14 and 15 can work limited hours in specified industries, such as retail
or food service, as long as they meet certain requirements.

Work Hours and Restrictions

Illinois child labor laws also establish restrictions on the hours minors can work, particularly
during school days. For instance, minors under 16 are prohibited from working during school
hours, except in limited circumstances such as work-study programs approved by the school.

During the school week, minors aged 14 and 15 are limited to working a maximum of three
hours per day and up to 24 hours per week. These restrictions are in place to ensure that minors
have enough time for their education and other extracurricular activities.

Hazardous Occupations

To protect the safety and well-being of minors, both federal and Illinois laws prohibit them from
working in certain hazardous occupations. These occupations may involve operating heavy
machinery, handling hazardous substances, or working in environments with extreme

For example, minors under 18 are generally prohibited from working in construction,
manufacturing, or mining industries where they may be exposed to dangerous machinery or
chemicals. These restrictions are essential for preventing workplace injuries and ensuring the
health of young workers.

Permits and Documentation

In Illinois, minors under the age of 16 are required to obtain a work permit before they can be
employed. This permit, also known as a Certificate of Age, verifies the minor's age and ensures
they are eligible to work under state law.

Parents play a crucial role in the permit application process, as they must provide consent for
their child to work and certify that the employment will not interfere with the child's education.
Employers are also required to keep records of minors' permits on file and comply with any
restrictions outlined in the permit.

Penalties for Violations

Employers who violate Illinois child labor laws may face penalties ranging from fines to criminal
charges, depending on the severity of the violation. These penalties are intended to deter
employers from exploiting young workers and ensure compliance with labor regulations.

Parents should familiarize themselves with their children's rights under Illinois child labor laws
and be vigilant in monitoring their working conditions. If they suspect any violations or unsafe
working conditions, they should report them to the appropriate authorities, such as the Illinois
Department of Labor.

Understanding Illinois child labor laws is essential for parents to protect their children's rights
and ensure their safety in the workplace. By familiarizing themselves with the minimum age
requirements, work hour restrictions, and prohibited occupations, parents can help their children
navigate the world of employment while prioritizing their education and well-being. By
advocating for their children's rights and reporting any violations, parents play a crucial role in
ensuring that young workers are treated fairly and afforded the protections they deserve under
the law.

Call Our Chicago Employment Law Attorney for Dedicated Representation

Seeking legal assistance regarding child labor laws in Illinois? Don't delay in addressing any
concerns about your child's workplace environment or potential violations of their rights. Reach
out to the Law Office of Michael Smith located in Schaumburg, Illinois. Our dedicated team of
attorneys has experience in child labor laws and is committed to safeguarding your child's rights
and ensuring they have a safe and respectful work environment.

Let us provide you with experienced guidance through the complexities of child labor laws and
advocate for the protection of your child's rights. Contact our Illinois employment law attorney at
the Law Office of Michael Smith by calling to schedule a consultation and take
proactive steps to address any issues your child may be facing in the workplace.