IDOL reminds employers, families with teen workers of child labor rights and protections

SPRINGFIELD – Now that school is out, many teenagers are moving from the classroom into the summer workforce, and the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) wants to ensure that employers and families are aware of the steps that must be taken before a child begins work and while they’re on the job.


“Child labor laws are meant to protect some of the most vulnerable workers in Illinois,” said Illinois Department of Labor Director Jane Flanagan. “We’ve seen too many stories in the national news about children being exploited or hurt at work. The rules in place allow young people to be employed in safe workplaces that don’t negatively impact their health or education.”


IDOL regulates employment of workers under 16-years-old. The law protects children by:

  • requiring an employment certificate that confirms that a minor is old enough to work, physically capable of performing the job, and that the job will not interfere with the minor’s education (during school months);
  • prohibiting work in hazardous occupations;
  • prohibiting work in a place of business where alcohol is served or sold for consumption on site, and in places where alcohol is brewed, distilled and/or bottled; and
  • limiting working hours: child workers are prohibited from working before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. during the school year, work until 9 p.m. is allowed from June 1 through Labor Day.

Additionally, Illinois law provides that child workers should earn a minimum of $12 per hour worked and should receive a 30-minute meal break for every five hours worked. Like all workers in Illinois, child workers are entitled to a day or rest after six consecutive days of work.


Possible violations of the Child Labor Law can be reported by emailing, by visiting or by using DocuSign.


Federal law also regulates employment of minors between the ages of 16 and 18. More information on youth employment under federal law is available here: