Family Law

What are the Child Labor Laws in Pennsylvania

Child Labor Laws

The exploitation of minors for manual or any other form of labor is frowned upon in all developed countries. In the United States, child labor acts are put in place across all states to ensure the enactment of the child labor laws. There are various criteria that need to be met in order for a minor to work. Although the minimum legal working age in PA is 14, the child labor laws require the children to have an employment certificate before they can be employed for any form of domestic service. 

The article discusses in detail the Pennsylvania child labor act and what are the special circumstances that are essential to allow for a child to be employed under PA child labor laws.

Can A 13 Year Old Work In PA?

One of the most common questions asked pertaining to child labor is what is the minimum age for a child to be employable? The answer is 14; any kid under the age of 14 cannot be employed and that too for menial labor, nothing tiring or difficult. 

Even a 14-year old needs to have a legal employment certificate with the legal guardian acknowledging/understanding that they are allowing the child to work as minor labor. It is the responsibility of the Department of Labor and Industry to ensure compliance with child labor laws under the Department of Labor Law. The department is also responsible for ensuring the welfare of the minors along with their health and safety.

There are certain occupations and establishments that are prohibited from employing minors. Furthermore, for certain age groups, there are restrictions on working hour durations. Pennsylvania department for child labor laws also dictates regulations that determine the conditions for the employment of children and demands for employment certificates for minors that are below the age of 18.

More On Child Labor Laws in PA:

can a 13 year old work in PA
Сan a 13-year-old work in PA ?

The employment certificate required for domestic service from minors may be issued by the school of the minor or Pennsylvania’s State Labor Department. Some school districts have an additional requirement of the Age Certification document.

The employment certificate can be obtained by contacting the school’s administration or the school’s guidance counselor. Pennsylvania child labor act demand that a minor can be issued their certificate for employment if they meet all the requirements of the Pennsylvania Department for Child Labor Laws.

Although if a resident of Pennsylvania wishes to work in the state, they are not required to present their age certificate, which is not the case in a number of other states. 

Working Hours:

As mentioned previously, minors are only allowed to work limited hours per day and school day, as well as the week and school week gave their circumstances.

If a minor is under the age of 16, they are only allowed to work 8 hours a day, 44 hours per week when they have no school. During school days and school weeks, they are allowed to only work 4 hours a day and 18 hours per week.

Minors aged 16 and 17 can only work 44 hours per week, 6 days per week. During school days and if enrolled in school, they are allowed to work only 28 hours per week. 

For both age groups, night shifts are prohibited. 


Pennsylvania labor laws act exists to protect children who are working and provides them with the comfort of adequate working hours in order to balance their work and academic life, preparing them for a better future.

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