North Carolina Child Labor Laws

January 8th 2024

In order to uphold a safe and healthy workplace for minors, employers in North Carolina must adhere to the child labor guidelines set forth at the federal level.

Enforcing such labor laws in North Carolina serves to not only protect minors, but to also enable to find a balance between pursuing their education and gaining valuable work experience.

This article will provide a comprehensive overview of North Carolina’s child labor laws, including age restrictions, regulations on working hours, violations, and industry-specific guidelines.

This article covers:


Employment Age for Minors in North Carolina

In North Carolina, the hours that minors can work are regulated by federal laws.

Kids who are 13 years old and younger can’t work under federal law, except in certain situations like working for their parents or delivering newspapers, or if they are in the entertainment industry.

North Carolina Payment Laws for Minors

In North Carolina, there are specific minimum wage rates for employees under 20 years of age and student workers.

According to federal law, employers in North Carolina have the option to pay new employees under 20 a training wage of $4.25 per hour for the first 90 days of employment.

Additionally, full-time high school or college students who work part-time may receive 85% of the North Carolina minimum wage ($7.25 per hour), which can be as low as $6.16 per hour.

However, this applies only to certain employers, such as those participating in work-study programs at universities, and is limited to 20 hours of work per week.

Laws on Working Hours for Minors in North Carolina

If you’re aged 14 or 15, there are some restrictions on the hours you can work. For example, you can’t work more than 3 hours on a school day, no more than 8 hours on a non-school day and no more than 18 hours each week when school is in session. However, you can work up to 40 hours in a week when school is not in session.

Additionally, there are some restrictions on the times of day you can work. For instance, you can work between 7-7 PM, except for non-school days from June 1 through Labor Day when you can work until 9 PM.

There are no time restrictions for minors aged 16 and 17 related to the number of daily working hours.

Nonetheless, North Carolina has its own laws regarding working regulations for minors. One such regulation is that kids enrolled in grades 12 or lower can’t work between 11 PM and 5 AM on a school day unless they have written permission from their parents and principal.

According to federal regulations, minors are required to take a 30-minute break after working for 5 consecutive hours.

Time Tracking of Minors’ Hours in North Carolina

Monitoring work hours of underage employees is essential for ensuring compliance with labor laws and regulations, thereby preventing the exploitation and mistreatment of child laborers. This practice helps strike a careful balance between work and education, preserving a child’s right to receive an education and have a healthy childhood.

Furthermore, the tracking of attendance and working hours facilitates the supervision of health and safety conditions, reducing the likelihood of children being exposed to dangerous or excessively lengthy working hours.

Maintaining records and timesheets can also serve as a tool to hold employers accountable for their treatment of child laborers. Additionally, the data generated by time clock software is a valuable resource for child rights organizations and policymakers in their efforts to advocate for stronger safeguards and regulations, ultimately contributing to the overall well-being and future prospects of child workers.

Banned Jobs for Minors in North Carolina

North Carolina state law has several restrictions in place to protect minors aged under 18 from undertaking hazardous or detrimental jobs. These occupations include:

  • welding
  • working with hazardous materials like asbestos or lead
  • work that involves a risk of falling from a height of 10 feet or higher
  • working as an electrician or electrician’s helper
  • working in confined spaces
  • using respirators

In addition to state laws, federal provisions also prohibit minors from performing certain jobs. However, there are some exceptions, as the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act permits 16- and 17-year-olds to drive for business purposes within a 25-mile radius of their workplace. The act also allows minors aged 14 to 17 to work in a workroom with tanning beds as long as the beds are not in operation.

Exceptions to Job Limitations for Minors in North Carolina

However, there are some exceptions to job limitations for minors, as the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act permits 16- and 17-year-olds to drive for business purposes within a 25-mile radius of their workplace.

The act also allows minors aged 14 to 17 to work in a workroom with tanning beds as long as the beds are not in operation.

Sanctions for Violating Minors Employment Laws in North Carolina

Employers who fail to comply with the regulations related to minor employment in North Carolina or any related regulations may face penalties.

The initial violation can result in a civil penalty of up to five hundred dollars ($500.00), while subsequent violations may lead to a penalty of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) per violation.

The amount of the penalty takes into account factors such as the size of the business and the severity of the violation, ensuring that it is appropriate for the circumstances.

To know more about the entitlements of employees, check our guides on your rights as a salaried employee in North Carolina and your rights as an hourly employee in North Carolina. You can also learn more about North Carolina 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.