When employing young people on your farm, be sure you know and understand the regulations surrounding their position. Staying current with new guidelines and implementing them will help protect your farming business.
Anyone under 16 is subject to federal requirements set by the Fair Labor Standards Act. These requirements, though, have a few exceptions when it comes to farm labor. If a youth that is younger than 16 is employed on a farm owned by their parents or guardians, they can work under less stringent regulations.
Also, if a 14- or 15-year-old has completed a Tractor and Machinery Certification course, they can then operate tractors over 20 horsepower for someone other than their parent or guardians.
Regulated tasks are found in the Hazardous Occupations Order in Agriculture (AgHO) listing. These AgHO laws will cover youth ages 14 and 15, but no longer apply after they turn 16. A list of the hazardous tasks can be found at dol.gov.
When school is in session the following guidelines for 14- and 15-year-olds apply:
- Cannot work between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
- Cannot work more than 3 hours in school day, or 18 hours in school week
- Cannot work during school hours unless youth is involved in a certified vocational training program.
- 16- and 17-year-olds:
- Cannot work before 7 a.m. or 6 a.m. if youth did not work past 8 p.m. the previous night
- Cannot be employed after 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday
- No limitations on hours per day or week
When school is out of session the following regulations should be observed for 14- and 15-year-olds:
- Cannot be employed between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.
- Cannot work over eight hours per day or 40 hours per week
- 16- and 17-year-olds:
- No limitation on start or end time
- No limitation on hours per day or week
Employers are required to keep records of minors under 16, including name, address and date of birth. A minor employed by parents or guardian, however, is exempt from this requirement.
(Farm and Dairy is featuring a series of “101” columns throughout the year to help young and beginning farmers master farm living. From finances to management to machinery repair and animal care, farmers do it all.)
More Farming 101 columns:
- 5 things young farmers should know about finances
- The farm balance sheet
- 5 items for your farm’s cash flow statement
- Personal and business records: Keep them separate
- What to include in your farm business plan
- How to approach a lender: Tips for getting a farm loan
- How to use microloans to get your farm started
- Saving for the future: 6 tips for young farmers
- How to create a farm safety kit
- 5 tips for child safety on the farm
- 4 tips for transporting livestock
- 5 ways to better understand tractor stability
- 6 farm equipment hacks
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