Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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Child Labor Laws

  • Under Pennsylvania law, no child under the age of 16 may be employed. There is an exception for a child between the ages of 12 and 14, who may serve as a golf caddy, but may only carry one golf bag and not for any longer than 18 holes in one day. A child between 14 and 16 may also caddy with the restriction that it cannot interfere with school attendance.
  • No child under the age of 18 can be employed for more than six consecutive days a week or more than 44 hours in one week or more than eight hours a day. If in school, no child under the age of 18 shall be employed for more than 28 hours during a school week. 
  • No child under the age of 16 can work outside school for more than four hours a day. 
  • A child under the age of 18 cannot be employed continuously for five hours without an interval of at least 30 minutes for lunch.
  • No minor is allowed to work in an alcohol brewing or bottling operation or to serve or handle alcoholic liquor in any establishment where such items are sold. 
  • No minor may work in any occupation that is dangerous to his or her health or morals.
  • For children employed in the performing arts, permits will be issued for minors between the ages of seven and 18 as long as the child will not work past 11:30 p.m. or in an establishment where alcohol is served. 
  • Before a minor is eligible to work, he must register for a work permit, which is issued by the school district superintendent or principal. To apply, the parent or legal guardian of the minor must fill out a form, and the minor must be examined by the registering officer.
  • There are two kinds of work permits: general employment and vacation certificates. General employment permits apply to minors ages sixteen to eighteen and allow them to work during the school year. Vacation permits allow minors, 12 to 14, to work as golf caddies and minors, 14 to 18, to work on any day during breaks from school. To be eligible for these permits, the prospective employer must sign a statement describing the employment and the number of hours per day and week the minor will be employed.