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For The Children Weekly Column

A Day to Honor Those Who Labor

September 3, 2021


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – “For the Children” Weekly Column

Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy

Telephone: (405) 833-1117

Email: jdorman@oica.org

For the Children: A Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, CEO - OICA

A Day to Honor Those Who Labor

Labor Day is an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday is rooted in the late nineteenth century, when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being.

I thought it would be interesting to share some of Oklahoma’s child labor laws for your review. Thanks to the Oklahoma Department of Labor and our state commissioner, Leslie Osborn, here are somet some facts from their website.

The minimum age to be employed in Oklahoma is 14 years. Children working either on farms or for parents or any entity in which a parent owns an equity interest are exempt from this age limitation. Children engaged in the sale or delivery of newspapers to consumers are also exempt, which maintains a longstanding and idyllic tradition in our nation.

Our state does issue work permits for youth, also known as the Employment Certificate for Age and Schooling. The work permit shall be approved by the principal, headmaster, or equivalent administrative officer of the school which the child attends or should be attending. The child’s parents shall approve such certificate if the child is being schooled at home. The school’s Issuing Officer verifies the minor’s age and the compulsory school requirements in accordance with Title 70, Section 10 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

A minor under the age of 16 years may work up to three (3) hours on school days (Monday to Friday), up to eight (8) hours on non-school days (days in which attendance is not compulsory), and up to 18 hours in a school week. A minor under the age of 16 years may work up to 40 hours in a non-school week if school is out for the entire week and attendance is not compulsory.  A minor under the age of 16 years may not work overtime.

From the Tuesday after Labor Day to May 31st of the following year, a minor under age 16 years may not work before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. If the employer is not subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, a minor may be allowed to work until 9:00 p.m. throughout the year on days followed by a non-school day. From June 1st to Labor Day, a minor under age 16 years may not work before 7:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. There are no restrictions on the hours or times once the minor reaches 16 years of age.

According to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, there are 17 hazardous occupations in which the minor must be at least 18 years of age to be employed, even if the parent owns the business. Go to https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/youthlabor/hazardousjobs to learn more about these jobs.  You might be surprised at some of these job prohibitions under federal law.

There are break requirement laws for minors under 16 years. A 14 or 15-year-old must be permitted a one (1) hour cumulative rest period for eight (8) consecutive hours worked or a 30 minute rest period for five (5) consecutive hours worked. Employers are required to document break periods for minors under 16 years. Once the minor reaches 16 years of age, there are no requirements for breaks or lunches.

Thank you again to the Oklahoma Department of Labor, Commissioner Osborn, the men and women in the Labor movement who secured safeguards for workers, and to all those who are working across our nation to provide for their families!