Child Labor Act
Generally, minors under the age of 18 are subject to Tennessee’s child labor protections. However, there are exceptions. This section provides laws on working hours, prohibited occupations and exceptions. The Child Labor Act prohibits the employment of minors in certain occupations and in working conditions that may be hazardous. "Minor" means a person of either sex under 18 years of age.
|While School is in Session||While School is Not in Session|
• No more than 3 hours per day
• No earlier than 7:00 am and no later than 7:00 pm
• No more than 18 hours per week
• No more than 8 hours per day
• No earlier than 6:00 am and no later than 9:00 pm
• No more than 40 hours per week
Minors 16 and 17 years of age may not be employed during those hours when the minor is required to attend class. Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-5-105(b)(1).
Minors 16 and 17 years of age may not be employed between the hours of 10:00 pm and 6:00 am, Sunday through Thursday, preceding a school day. Tenn. Code Ann. §50-5-105(b)(2).
However, if there is a valid Parental Consent Form signed and kept in the minor employee’s personnel file, then the minor (16 or 17 years of age) may work until midnight, but no more than three (3) nights per week Sunday through Thursday. Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-5-105 (b)(2)(A). Forms remain valid until the end of the current school year or until termination of the minor's employment, or until the minor reaches the age of majority, whichever occurs first; and the original copy of the form shall be maintained for the period of its effectiveness by the employer at the location of the minor's employment. Tenn. Code. Ann. § 50-1-105 (b)(2)(C).
With respect to a student enrolled with a church-related school as defined in § 49-50-801, or who is home schooled in accordance with § 49-6-3050 and has the consent of the parent conducting the home school, subdivision (b)(1) shall not apply. However, to work during the hours identified in subdivision (b)(1), the student shall also present to the employer a letter signed by the director, as defined in § 50-5-102, confirming the student’s enrollment and the authorization to work. The director of the church-related school shall send a copy of the letter to the director of the LEA of the school district in which the child resides. Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-5-105(c).
Break or Meal Periods
A minor must be provided a thirty (30) minute unpaid break or meal period if scheduled to work six (6) hours consecutive hours. Such breaks shall not be scheduled during or before the first hour of the work day. Tenn. Code. Ann. § 50-5-115. The ample opportunity exemption (Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-2-103 (h)(1)(A)) and/or break waiver (Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-2-103 (h)(2)) does not apply to employees under 18 years of age.
Labor Standards Unit