Child Labor Legislation

By: Sally L. Ray

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: August 1, 1995

Child labor in Texas is regulated by (1) federal legislation contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act, forbidding oppressive child labor in interstate commerce, and (2) laws passed by the state legislature in 1993, included in the Texas Labor Code. The Texas Labor Code governs employment of children-defined as individuals under the age of eighteen-and empowers the Texas Employment Commission to adopt rules for ensuring the safety, health, and well-being of children in the workplace. The only limitation on the employment of children aged seventeen and eighteen is that the commission may prohibit employment of children of any age in hazardous occupations. Children under sixteen may not work more than eight hours a day or forty-eight hours a week, and they may not work during nighttime hours. These restrictions on hours do not apply to a given child if an application is made to the Texas Employment Commission and it determines that a hardship exists for that child. State law forbids employment of children under the age of fourteen except as specified by the Labor Code or by rules promulgated by the commission. Specific exceptions permit newspaper delivery, school-sponsored work-study, agricultural employment outside school hours, certain rehabilitation programs, and any nonhazardous work done under the supervision of a parent or other custodial adult in a business that is owned or operated by the parent or custodian. The Labor Code also authorizes the commission to allow employment of children under fourteen as television, radio, theater, or movie actors. In any place where the commission has good reason to believe young people subject to the Code may be working, the commission must be given full access to, and must be given all desired information regarding, such workers. Any violation of the Code concerning child labor is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Sally L. Ray, “Child Labor Legislation,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995