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.  

Working Hours


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 nor between the hours of 10:00 pm and 6:00 am, Sunday through Thursday, preceding a school day. However, if there is a Parental/Consent Form signed, then the minor may work until midnight, but no more than three (3) nights per week Sunday through Thursday. 

If a minor is being homeschooled the same rules apply unless there is a letter of consent from the parent/guardian conducting the homeschooling. Tenn. Code. Ann. § 50-5-105 (c)  

Parental Consent Form

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)  

Work Permits
Not to be confused with the parental/guardian consent form. The state does not require work permits. The minor does need to provide the prospective employer with the proper documentation as proof of age: birth certificate, driver's license, state-issued ID, a copy of their passport, etc.

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.


Labor Standards Unit