How Many Hours Can a Fourteen-Year-Old Work?

By Paul Lin
Rules and regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act limits students in the number of hours they can work.
happy teenager image by Lisa Eastman from

Fourteen-year-old students who want to work must adhere to the regulations and laws put in place by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to protect youths in the work force. Created by the United States Department of Labor, this act provides strict rules regarding the hours that 14-year-old minors can work.

Non-Agricultural Employment: During School Weeks

Under the FLSA, employees who are 14 years of age can work a maximum of three hours in a school day, totaling 18 hours in a school week. If the school week is shortened by a holiday or teacher work days, the student is allowed to work a full eight hours with a one-hour break. If an employer or employee fails to comply with the regulations, a substantial fine and the loss of the teen's working permit may result. Students who apply for the Work Experience and Career Exploration Program (WECEP) are allowed to extend their work hours to twenty-three hours a week during school weeks, but are still limited to three hours on any one school day. The WECEP is only available for students working in a career-benefiting environment.

Non-Agricultural Employment: During Non-School Weeks

Fourteen-year-olds can work an eight-hour shift on a non-school day and 40 hours a week total, including time worked on weekends. Overtime is prohibited by the Fair Labor Standards Act, and could result in loss of the student's work permit and eligibility in the WECEP. Each state has its own child labor laws regarding work hours during a non-school week. Check with your FLSA child labor department in your state.

Non-Agricultural Employment: Time of Day

The Fair Labor Standards Act not only sets provisions on the number of hours a 14-year-old is allowed to work, but also governs the time of day these students can work. They are not allowed to work during school hours or past 7 p.m. on school nights. During non-school weeks, they may work eight hours between the hours of 7 a.m and 7 p.m., according to the U.S. Department of Labor. During the days between June 1 and Labor Day, permitted work hours are extended to 9 p.m.

Agricultural Employment

In farm employment, 14-year-olds who are employed by their parents are not under any restrictions unless it involves hazardous and dangerous working conditions. In working with mining and manufacturing, the minimum age requirement is 18 years of age. Employers of 14-year-olds should consult the rules and regulations specific to their state's department of labor. Although the U.S. Department of Labor has fewer restrictions on agricultural employment than on other types of employment, individual state laws can still be in effect.