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Child Labor Law Compliance

The Illinois Child Labor Law (820 ILCS 205/1 et seq.) regulates the employment of minors under the age of 16 years and requires all minors to have employment certificates.

The Superintendents of Schools or their duly authorized agents issue employment certificates for minors enrolled in school and children under the age of 13 who are involved in certain activities such as talent shows and movie production.

Required Procedures For Teens

  1. “Letter of intent to hire” must be obtained from all prospective employers. The letter must outline hours worked.
  2. Teen and parent or guardian must bring this letter to an issuing officer at minor’s school or school district to obtain the required work permit.
  3. The issuing officer will review criteria and verify safety before issuing the work permit.

Required Procedures For Employers

  • Employers​ are prohibited from hiring teens under 16 years of age who fail to present an approved work permit.
  • Employers who employ teens without having a work permit on the premises are subject to fines by the Department.

Hour Restrictions

  • When school is in session, children 14 and 15 years of age may work:
    • Up to 3 hours per day;
    • Up to 24 hours per week; and
    • The combined hours of school and work may not exceed 8 hours per day.
  • When school is NOT in session (including summer vacations, holidays and weekends), children under the age of 16 may NOT work:
    • More than 8 hours per day;
    • More than 6 days per week; nor
    • More than 48 hours per week.
  • Allowed hours of work are 7am to 7pm except between June 1st and Labor Day, when working hours may be extended to 9pm.
  • A scheduled meal period of at least 30 minutes shall be provided no later than the 5th consecutive hour of work.

Employers of minors shall post a schedule stating the hours of work and time of the lunch period. The employer shall also furnish any minor with a statement describing the specific nature of the work to be performed and the hour and days the minor is to work. The minor must present this statement to the issuing officer at the minor’s school (or the school district if the child has not yet been enrolled in school) along with a copy of minor’s birth certificate. The minor must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

When both the Illinois Child Labor Law and Fair Labor Standards Act provisions cover the establishment, the stricter of the two laws will prevail.


The Child Labor Law does not apply to the following:

  • Sale and distribution of magazines and newspapers at hours when the school of the district are not in session;
  • Employment of a minor outside of school hours in and around a home of an employer when the work is not business related;
  • Work of a minor 13 or more years of age, in caddying at a golf course;
  • Minors 12 and 13 years of age employed as officials at certain sports activities.

Hazardous Occupations

  • In, about or in conjunction with any public messenger or deliver service, bowling alley, pool room, billiard room, skating rink (except an ice skating rink owned and operated by a school or unit of local government); exhibition park or place of amusement, garage or as a bell boy in any hotel or rooming house or about or in connection with power-driver machinery.
  • In the oiling, cleaning or wiling of machinery or shafting
  • In or about any mine or quarry;
  • In stone cutting or polishing;
  • In or about any hazardous factory work;
  • In or about any plant manufacturing explosives or articles containing explosive components, in the use of transportation of same;
  • In or about plants manufacturing iron or steel, ore reduction works, smelters, foundries, forging shops, hot rolling mills or any place in which the heating melting or heat treating of metals is carried on;
  • In the operation of machinery used in the cold rolling of heavy metal stock, or in the operation of power-driven punching, shearing, stamping or metal plate bending machines;
  • In or about sawmills or lath, shingle or cooperage stock mills;
  • In the operation of power driven woodworking machines or off bearing from circular saws;
  • In the operation of freight elevators or hoisting machines and cranes;
  • In spray painting or in occupations involving exposure to lead or its compounds or to dangerous or poisonous dyes or chemicals;
  • In any place or establishment in which intoxicating alcoholic liquors are served or sold for consumption on the premises, or in which such liquors are manufactured or bottled; except as follows:
    •  busboy and kitchen employment, not otherwise prohibited, when in connection with the service of meals at any private club, fraternal organization or veteran’s organization shall not be prohibited by this subsection;
    • this subsection 13 does not apply to employment that is performed on property owned or operated by a park district, as defined in subsection (a) of Section 1-3 of the Park District Code, if the employment is not otherwise prohibited by law;
  • In oil refineries, gasoline blending plants or pumping stations on oil transmission lines;
  • In operation of laundry, dry cleaning or dying machinery;
  • In occupations involving exposure to radioactive substances;
  • In or about any filling station or service station;
  • In construction work, including demolition and repair;
  • In roofing operations;
  • In excavating operations;
  • In logging operations;
  • In public and private utilities and related services;
  • In operations in or in connection with slaughtering, meat packing, poultry processing and fish and seafood processing.
  • In operations which involve working on an elevated surface, with or without use of equipment, including but not limited to ladders and scaffolds;
  • In security positions or any occupation that requires the use or carrying of a firearm or other
  • Weapon; or
  • In occupations which involve the handling or storage of blood, blood products, body fluids or body tissue.