Summer Jobs on the Farm (News Release)

Before your teen-aged son or daughter starts a part-timef arm job this summer, here are a few questions for parents to consider:

  • Are they eligible for employment?
  • Federal child labor laws prohibit youth under 16 years of age from working on farms unless they've completed a certified tractor or machine operation course. The only exemptions to this law regard work on a farm owned by the child's parents, and summer detasseling jobs.
  • Child labor laws apply whether or not the youth is paid for the work, even if they work on a farm owned by a grandparent or close relative. Youth older than 16 years are not restricted by child labor laws.
  • What kind of work will they be doing?
  • Completion of certified tractor and machinery training courses allows your son or daughter to drive a tractor in fields, connect or disconnect implements on the tractor, and operate most farm machinery such as a hay mower and baler or combine. Summer detasseling jobs are within the law, but youth under age 16 cannot operate a detasseling machine or use a power detasseler.
  • Even with a training certificate, however, youth under 16 years are prohibited from certain farm jobs considered "hazardous" by the U. S. Department of Labor. Hazardous jobs include working on ladders from heights above 20 feet, handling or applying farm chemicals, and working inside storage structures that might have a toxic or oxygen-deficient atmosphere such as manure pits, silos or grain bins.
  • How many hours will they work?
  • Youth under 16 years can be employed only part-time. According to Iowa Code, part-time is considered 4 hours per day not to exceed 28 hours in a seven-day period. An exemption is made for detasseling work.
  • Does your son or daughter have a work permit?

It's helpful to provide employers with a permit that certifies the youth's age and the type of work he or she will be doing. Iowa employers are required by state law to keep work permits on file for most minor employees, however, it's up to the employee to apply for and provide the permit. Permits can be issued by the Iowa Job Service office or the local school superintendent.

For more information about laws regarding youth farm employment, contact the Iowa Division of Labor at (515) 281-3606. A new publication, Know Laws about Youth Farm Workers, also is available free at any extension office.

This news release was distributed by Iowa State University Extension as part of the Safe Farm Program. Safe Farm promotes health and safety in agriculture. It is funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Iowa State University, and a network of groups that serve Iowa farm workers and their families. Distribution date: June 1993.

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More