Indiana Child Labor Laws

January 8th 2024

Safeguarding the rights and welfare of young workers is of utmost importance, which is why child labor laws in Indiana hold significant value.

There are state-mandated labor laws in Indiana for minors that have been put in place to ensure the safety and well-being of young employees in the workplace as well as offer them a balance between education and experience gain. 

This article will provide a comprehensive examination of Indiana’s child labor laws, including age restrictions, limitations on working hours, and industry-specific regulations.

This article covers:

Employment Age for Minors in Indiana

In Indiana, minors can commence working at the age of 14, but there are specific limitations on the nature of work, permissible working hours, and documentation requirements that must be maintained throughout their employment.

As minors grow older, the restrictions on their work generally decrease.

Individuals who are 18 years and older face fewer limitations compared to their younger counterparts, although certain jobs may still be restricted even for older teenagers.

Indiana Payment Laws for Minors

There is a special provision for workers under the age of 20 in Indiana, who can be paid a training minimum wage of $4.25 per hour during the initial 90 days of their employment.

Part-time employees who are full-time high school or college students in Indiana may receive a student minimum wage of 85% of the regular Indiana minimum wage. This amounts to as low as $6.16 per hour. These student wages apply to a maximum of 20 hours of work per week and are applicable in specific employment settings, such as work-study programs at universities.

The minimum wage is currently set at $7.25 per hour, adhering to the federal minimum wage requirement.

This minimum wage applies to all employers in Indiana with a workforce of two or more employees.

Working Hours for Minors in Indiana

Please find the table below describing the working hours for minors:

Age Group Parental Permission Hours per Day Hours per Week Work Allowed on School Days Work Allowed on Non-School Days
14-15 No 3 hours 18 hours 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (June 1st to Labor Day)
16 No 8 hours 30 hours (up to 6 days) Until 10 p.m.
Yes 9 hours (days not followed by a school day) 40 hours (during school week), 48 hours (while school is out) Until 12 a.m. (days not followed by a school day)
17 No 8 hours 30 hours (up to 6 days) Until 10 p.m.
Yes 9 hours (days not followed by a school day) 40 hours (during school week), 48 hours (while school is out) Until 11:30 p.m. (nights followed by a school day), until 1 a.m. (not on consecutive days, and no more than 2 days per school week)

Homeschooled or online-schooled students are treated equivalently to minors who attend traditional in-person schools. The school district calendar corresponding to the minor’s place of residence is used to determine the start and end of the school year, as well as breaks and holidays.

Monitoring work hours for employed minors is imperative to ensure adherence to labor laws and regulations. Contemporary tools, such as time tracking software and time and attendance software, facilitate precise hours monitoring, thereby enabling a delicate equilibrium between work and education.

Exemptions for Minor Laws Restrictions in Indiana

Although homeschooled students are required to adhere to the same work-hour limitations as other students, they have the option to work on traditional school days if they obtain written permission from a parent or tutor.

Further, students who are 16 years or older and have completed high school are exempt from these restrictions.

The rules regarding occupations and working hours during summer employment are the same.

It’s important to note that minors under 16 years of age may engage in certain hazardous jobs in the agricultural field, but it is advisable to carefully review the information provided on the Department of Labor (DOL) website to avoid potential fines and penalties.

Break Requirements for Minors in Indiana

According to the Teen Break Law, employees in Indiana under the age of 18 are entitled to one or two breaks that add up to a total of 30 minutes when your work shift extends for 6 or more consecutive hours.

Working Permit for Minors in Indiana

Starting from July 1, 2021, Indiana has eliminated the need for work permits and implemented the Youth Employment System (YES).

This system is mandatory for employers with five or more employees under the age of 18. It allows them to track and report information regarding their minor employees to the Indiana Department of Labor.

Employers who have a workforce of five or more individuals who are under the age of 18 are required to register their company in YES and maintain an updated record of all minors, regardless of the duration of their employment.

Banned Jobs for Minors in Indiana

In Indiana, minors are prohibited by law from working in certain occupations that are deemed dangerous. These occupations include:

  • Manufacturing goods
  • Mining
  • Working with power-driven machinery
  • Working in boiler or steam rooms
  • Operating a motor vehicle
  • Preparing meats for sale
  • Construction

These laws have been put in place to ensure the safety and well-being of young employees in the workplace. 

Indiana Workplace Notices and Documentation Requirements for Child Employees

By law, employers in Indiana must display the maximum allowable working hours for minors aged 14, 15, 16, and 17 on each day of the week.

This information must be prominently displayed in a noticeable location or in areas where notices are typically posted.

It is important to highlight that records and timesheets also function as mechanisms for holding employers accountable for their treatment of child laborers. Furthermore, the data generated by time clock software is of immense value to child rights organizations and policymakers as they advocate for more robust protections and regulations, ultimately contributing to the overall welfare and future prospects of child workers.

Enforcement and Inspections of Indiana’s Minor Employment Laws

The Indiana Department of Labor (IDOL) has been granted the necessary authority to monitor and enforce compliance with the state’s youth employment laws.

This allows the IDOL and its authorized agents to conduct inspections of establishments that employ minors at reasonable hours and when it is practical and necessary.

Inspections may occur randomly, in response to public reports of potential violations, or as targeted investigations based on industry and employment data.

Employers are obligated to cooperate with IDOL inspections, which may involve examining records pertaining to employees under 18 years old, inspecting work areas, and conducting interviews with employees. Employers must promptly provide all requested records while the inspector is on-site, or within 24 hours if the records are not kept on-site.

It is illegal to obstruct, hinder, or interfere with any IDOL inspector or agent while they are performing their official duties. Additionally, refusing to provide proper answers to questions from an IDOL inspector or agent is also unlawful. Upon written request from the IDOL, the Indiana attorney general can assist in prosecuting individuals charged with violating youth employment laws.

Sanctions for Violating Minors Employment Laws in Indiana

Violations of specific regulations in the context of hours of work, posting requirements, failure to register or register the correct number of employed minors, age requirements, and occupational restrictions may result in penalties.

During an initial inspection, any identified violations receive a warning letter. For subsequent inspections, the penalties escalate based on the number and nature of the violations, from a penalty of $50 up to $400.

The expiration period for a first violation is one year from the date of issuance of the warning letter. It is important to note that each employer location is treated as an independent entity and is considered separate from other locations under the same employer.

To know more about the entitlements of employees, check our guides on your rights as a salaried employee in Indiana and your rights as an hourly employee in Indiana. You can also learn more about Indiana Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.