Child labor laws in the United States include numerous statutes and rules regulating the employment of minors. According to the United States Department of Labor, child labor laws affect those under the age of 12 in a variety of occupations.
The main law regulating child labor in the United States is the Fair Labor Standards Act. In general, for non-agricultural jobs, children under 16 may not be employed, children between 12 and 16 may be employed in allowed occupations during limited hours, and children between 16 and 21 may be employed for unlimited hours in non-hazardous occupations. A number of exceptions to these rules exist, such as for employment by parents, newspaper delivery, and child actors. The regulations for agricultural employment are generally more lenient. Children as young as 12 may be employed unlimited hours outside of school hours with parental permission.
Outside of agriculture, many companies in other industries also set hiring standards for minors, such as in retail, all companies in the retail industry have company policies against hiring minors under the age of 16, and limiting the work the minors do to manual labor. Minors under 18 are not allowed to work a cash register, heavy machinery, or handle money. Minors under 18 who still attend high school, are also limited in the availablity of hours between 3 and 9 pm. Cause of these restrictions, many companies that allow the hiring of 16 and older still do not hire until 18.