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Child Labor

Wisconsin Statutes Section 103.64-103.82 and Wisconsin Administrative Code Chapter DWD 270, establish maximum hours of work, time of day restrictions, and prohibited employment for minors 11 through 17 years of age.

Frequently Asked Questions, within this page:

What restrictions are there on the hours minors may work?

Employers of minors under the age of 16 are subject to certain restrictions when scheduling those minors to work. The time of day they may be employed -- including how early and how late -- and the number of hours they may work per day and per week are all regulated. These restrictions depend on whether the work day is a school day and whether the week falls during the summer season (June 1 through Labor Day) or during the school year (After Labor Day through May 31). The hours that 16- and 17-year-old minors may work is not limited, except that they may not work during hours they are required to be in school.

In addition to maximum hours and time of day restrictions, no minor (17 and younger) may work longer than 6 consecutive hours without a 30-miunute duty free meal period. No minor under 16, other than those working in agriculture or delivering newspapers, may work more than 6 days in any workweek.

Hours worked during school hours as part of an approved written work experience program do not count as part of the total permitted hours of work per day or per week.

The regulations concerning the daily or weekly hours minors may work can be found on the back of the copy of the work permit issued to the minor and the employer.

Where and when can minors work?

"Child labor" refers to the employment of anyone under the age of 18 (minors) in any type of business. Minors may be employed only in certain types of work until they turn 18. Additionally, those under 16 may be employed only during certain hours of the day and of the week. Every employer is responsible for having a work permit on file for a minor before allowing that minor to work in his or her business. The employer is also responsible for making sure that minors work only the hours allowed and that they do not perform any prohibited employment. These provisions are enforced by a complaint to the Equal Rights Division within 2 years of the alleged violation.

Where can I get a copy of the Labor Standards Complaint form?

What other child labor references (Publications) are available?

Work Permit Offices

Work Permit Offices in Wisconsin - includes the office location and phone number.

Work Permit Officer Handbook - updated June 2014.

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