North Carolina Children Labor Laws

By Luanne Kelchner
North Carolina, the employment, children, the state
north carolina outline image by Kim Jones from

Child labor laws enacted in the state of North Carolina protect children from dangerous work environments and excessive hours that could negatively affect education. The laws in North Carolina give children an opportunity to benefit from work experiences in a safe manner. All children under 18 are subject to child labor laws in the state.

Work Permits

All children under age 18 are required to obtain a work permit to work in the state of North Carolina. Working for parents is an exception to the work permit rule, according to the North Carolina Department of Labor. The work permit ensures that children have the permission of parents and that the work is not dangerous to the child. Employers must keep work permits on the premises during the time the child is working and for a two-year period after the employment relationship ends or when the child reaches age 20.

Under Age 14

North Carolina does not permit children under age 14 to work in any employee position. Exceptions to the rule for children under 14 include the entertainment industry such as television, radio, theater and movies. The law permits children under age 14 to work as babysitters or perform household chores.

Work Hours

The North Carolina child labor law restricts the number of hours a child can work and the times of day according to the age of the child.

Children age 14 and 15 are restricted to work during hours when school is not in session. Hours for each workday are restricted to three on a school day and eight on a non-school day. Children age 14 and 15 are not allowed to work more than 18 hours per week during school weeks and 40 hours per week when school is not in session. North Carolina child labor laws restrict the hours to between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for children age 14 and 15. During the summer, children in this age group are allowed to work until 9 p.m.

North Carolina prevents 16- and 17-year-old workers from working between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. when school is in session the following day.


The state of North Carolina requires that employers give employees under age 16 a 30-minute break after completing five hours of work.

Types of Employment

Child labor laws in North Carolina restrict the type of work that children may perform. Children under age 18 may not work in occupations that are considered hazardous or detrimental to the health of the child and include the operation of meat slicers, power mixers in bakeries and work involving ladders 10 feet high or more.