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  • Writer's pictureJustin Sparks

What Is the Legal Working Age in Texas? | Explaining Texas Child Labor Laws

Children can work in certain occupations in Texas. However, the minimum wage and age might vary depending on the nature of the work. Employers who hire children must follow the state's child labor laws to avoid trouble with the relevant authorities.

The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Sparks Law Firm have helped many defendants in Fort Worth, Texas. Those facing charges related to employment issues should contact them to discuss their case and learn more about their legal options.

What Is the Legal Working Age in Texas?

What Is the Legal Working Age in Texas?

The minimum age to work in Texas is 14 years. It is illegal for employers to hire children under the age of 14 unless under specific circumstances, which may include the following:

  • Children working in the entertainment industry (child actors);

  • Certain occupations in the agriculture sector; and

  • Children employed by their parents in any occupation that is not listed on the U.S. Department of Labor's list of hazardous duty occupations.

Can Children Who Are 14 or 15 Years Old Work in Texas?

Children between the ages of 14 and 15 can work in Texas during certain hours of the day. Under the child labor laws, the following are some limitations on youth employment in the state:

  • Children are not permitted to work during school hours.

  • A child's working hours on a regular school day should not exceed three hours.

  • During a school week, the maximum working hours for children should not exceed 18 hours.

  • On non-school days, a child's workday should not exceed eight hours.

  • During non-school weeks, the maximum limit for children's work hours is set at 40 hours.

  • In the course of the school year, children are not permitted to work between 7 PM and 7 AM.

  • There is an exception during the summer period, between June 1st and Labor Day, for children who are 14 and 15 years old. They can work between 7 AM and 9 PM, as long as they don't have to attend summer school.

Are There Any Working Restrictions for Children Who Are 16 or 17 Years Old?

A child who is 16 or 17 years old can work in Texas without any restrictions. There are no specific hours that they must follow.

Can Children Between the Ages of 14 and 17 Work in Any Sector?

Under the Texas child labor laws, children between the ages of 14 and 17 cannot work in non-agricultural occupations. These include the following:

  • Manufacturing and storing of explosives

  • Coal mining

  • Exposure to radioactive substances

  • Manufacturing brick, tiles, and related products

  • Excavation operations

  • Power-driven bakery machines

Those who want to know more about prohibited occupations in Texas can read all about it on the U.S. Department of Labor website.

What Are the Child Labor Laws in Texas?

The Texas child labor laws protect children from working in certain occupations that can be hazardous or harmful to a child's health and safety. It covers any employee under the age of 18.

Besides the Texas child labor law, there is a state agency known as the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) that lays down the guidelines for employing children.

These rules are in place to ensure that the duties of the job do not affect the child's education and adversely impact their health or safety.

What Are the Exemptions Under the Texas Child Labor Laws?

The Texas child labor law does not apply to certain groups of children, which includes the following:

  • Children who work in non-hazardous casual employment. This refers to unscheduled or non-recurring work that is not on the TWC or the federal government's list of dangerous occupations or sectors.

  • Those who are 11 years or older and delivering newspapers on a specified route

  • Teenagers (16 years or older) who are directly selling newspapers to the public

  • Those who are participating in a school-supervised work-study program (approved by the TWC)

  • Children who are working through a rehabilitation program supervised by a county judge

  • Those who are working in the agriculture sector for the period when they're not legally required to attend school.

It's important to understand that work in the agricultural sector for children includes producing crops and caring for livestock.

What Is the Minimum Wage for Child Employment in Texas?

Employers may pay a sub-minimum wage of $4.25 an hour during the first 90 days of employment.

However, the company must adhere to the federal minimum wage rate after the initial 90 days, which is $7.25 per hour.

When Does State or Federal Laws Apply to a Business?

Businesses in Texas must follow the state law. However, companies that are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) may have to adhere to the federal law.

It's important to understand that sometimes both federal and state laws may apply to a business, which is why it's essential to reach out to an experienced Fort Worth criminal attorney or contact the local U.S. Department of Labor, Wage, and Hour Division for assistance.

Can Parents in Texas Employ Their Children in Their Business?

In Texas, parents and legal custodians have the right to employ their children in their businesses. However, the nature of employment should not be hazardous, and the child's parent or legal guardian should directly supervise them during work.

Non-hazardous employment refers to work that neither the federal government nor the TWC has deemed dangerous to a child's safety, health, and well-being.

Child Labor Complaint Process

Child Labor Complaint Process

Under Texas law, individuals must file a complaint with the local TWC if they believe that an employer is violating child labor laws.

The state agency will investigate the complaint and issue a preliminary determination to the company accordingly.


Violating the child labor laws is a Class B misdemeanor unless a company or business employs a child to sell or solicit. In that case, it is a Class A misdemeanor.

The TWC has full discretion in assessing the penalties for violating the child labor laws in Texas, and these can go up to $10,000 in fines for each violation.

There may be other criminal penalties that the employer may have to face besides the hefty fines.


If the employer disagrees with the penalties or TWC's determination about the violation, it can file an appeal to the Appeal Tribunal within 21 days.

Suppose the employer disagrees with the Tribunal's decision. In that case, it can file a Motion for Hearing within 14 days.

If the employer is unhappy with the final TWC decision, it can file a Petition for Judicial review within 30 days.

Employers Must Consult with Legal Professionals. Sparks Law Firm Has the Expertise to Help!

Children under the age of 18 can be valuable members of a team. Under state and federal law, businesses can hire minors in certain occupations. However, a power-hungry prosecutor may pursue legal action against an employer, which can adversely impact the business. Sparks Law Frim can also give insight on what drugs are legal in Texas.

Those who are facing accusations of harming minors during employment in Fort Worth, Texas, should call to schedule a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sparks Law Firm. They can assess the case and protect the defendant's rights by fighting the charges.


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