With the summer job search in full swing, many young people living outside
Atlanta may be looking to work on a farm for the season. There are a number
of regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act that apply to young
farm workers that parents and children need to be aware of. Consulting
an employment lawyer about these very complex regs before starting a farm
job would be a very good idea.
First things first, though-if you’re over 16, these special rules
don’t apply to you. Also, they don’t apply if the farm is
owned by the children’s parents. Other exemptions include students
enrolled in certain vocational agricultural programs or who are specially
trained through 4-H (etc.) on some hazardous farm equipment.
Believe it or not, you are allowed to work on a farm at an age as low as
People age 10 and 11 can hand harvest short-season crops outside school
hours for no more than 8 weeks between June 1 and October 15 if their
employers have obtained special waivers from the Secretary of Labor.
Children age 12 and 13 years of age may work outside of school hours in
non-hazardous jobs on farms that also employ their parent(s) or with written
parental consent. Youths under 12 years of age may work outside of school
hours in non-hazardous jobs with parental consent, but only on farms where
none of the employees are subject to theminimum wage requirements of the FLSA.
Youths aged 14 and 15 may work outside school hours in jobs not declared
hazardous by the Secretary of Labor.
The regs list a ton of “hazardous” farm jobs, and the problem
is that, on a farm, a worker may get shifted from job to job without really
knowing what is allowable under each circumstance. Some of the more hazardous
jobs include operating large tractors and harvesting equipment, earthmoving
and trenching, handling cattle, working in a silo, and handling dangerous
Another problem will be comparing state laws to the federal regulations,
since the more stringent of the two will always apply. Only an experienced
employment lawyer can guide you through that particular jungle of governmental regulations.