Welcome To Swain County

Social Services

Youth Employment Information

Minimum Age Standards for Employment

The FLSA and the child labor regulations issued at 29 CFR, Part 570, and the WHA and the youth employment regulations establish both hours and occupational standards for youth. Children of any age are generally permitted to work for businesses entirely owned by their parents, except those under 16 may not be employed in mining or manufacturing, and no one under 18 may be employed in any occupation the Secretary of Labor has declared to be hazardous or the Commissioner of Labor has declared to be detrimental.

  • 18 - Once a youth reaches 18 years of age, he or she is no longer subject to the child labor/youth employment provisions. Youths under 18 years of age must obtain a youth employment certificate (work permit) when employed, even if they are employed by their parents. The certificate and the issuing instructions are obtained from the N.C. Department of Labor Web site http://www.nclabor.com/wh/youth_instructions.htm.
  • 16 and17 - Basic minimum age for employment. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds may be employed in any occupation other than those declared hazardous or detrimental. No youth under 18 years of age who is enrolled in school in grade 12 or lower may be employed between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. when there is school for the youth the next day. Sixteen- and 17-year-old youths may get the hour restriction waived upon written permission from the parent/guardian and from the youth's principal/designee.
  • 14 and 15 - Young persons 14 and 15 years of age may be employed outside school hours in a variety of non-manufacturing and non-hazardous/non-detrimental jobs for limited periods of time and under specified conditions.
  • Under 14 - Children under 14 years of age may not be employed in non-agricultural occupations. Permissible employment for such children is limited to work that is exempt from the FLSA and WHA (such as actors or performers in motion pictures, theatrical, radio or television productions). Children may also perform work not covered by the FLSA or WHA such as completing minor chores around private homes or casual babysitting.

Error messages or questions should be addressed to a program assistant at (919) 807-2796 (Raleigh) or toll-free (N.C. only) 1-800-NC-LABOR (1-800-625-2267). Our call center is open Monday through Friday.

How to Handle Completed Certificates:

  • Completed and signed certificates must be given to the employer on or before the first day of work.
  • The employer must verify the youth’s age, proposed job duties and any restrictions noted on the certificate.
  • The certificate must be maintained by the employer for two years after employment ends or until age 20, as appropriate.

Additional Information:

How can I get more information on Child Labor laws?
For more information on the North Carolina youth employment provisions, including how to obtain a work permit, you may call (919) 807-2796 (Raleigh), toll-free (N.C. only) 1-800-NCLABOR (1-800-625-2267), or visit the NCDOL Web site at www.nclabor.com. For more information about the federal child labor provisions or those applicable to employment in agriculture, call the Wage and Hour Division in either Charlotte at (704) 749-3360 or Raleigh at (919) 790-2741. You may also call toll-free 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243) or visit the U.S. Department of Labor Web site at www.dol.gov or www.youthrules.dol.gov. For more information about other laws enforced by the federal Wage and Hour Division, visit e-laws Advisor at http://www.dol.gov/elaws/flsa.htm.

The Hazardous Occupations Orders (HOs)
The FLSA and the WHA both establish an 18-year minimum age for those nonagricultural occupations that the Secretary of Labor finds and declares to be particularly hazardous for 16- and 17-year-old minors, or detrimental to their health or well-being. In addition, Child Labor Regulation No. 3 also bans 14- and 15-year-olds from performing any work proscribed by the HOs. There are currently 17 HOs that include a partial or total ban on the occupations or industries they cover. NOTE: The NCDOL has adopted the 17 federal HOs as a part of the WHA in addition to establishing its own detrimental occupations, which are discussed after this section.

Youth Permit Interactive Form:

  • 2. Pop-up blockers must be TURNED OFF.
  • 3. Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0 or higher is REQUIRED to display and print the YEC. If needed, the program can be downloaded by clicking this link:

  • 4. Youth working for their parents MUST get a YEC before they start to work.

Youth Employment Certificate YEC Application Process:

  • Complete the application screens identified below. This process works best when completed at the employer’s location to ensure accuracy of job descriptions and ABC permit requirements.
  • The completed YEC must be signed by the youth, parent and employer in order to be valid.

  • Screen 1: Requests information on the youth, proposed employer and business type.
  • Screen 2: Requests a response regarding the employer’s ABC permit status for most business types. This is a required field; however, a “YES” response applies mostly to restaurants and country clubs where alcoholic beverages are sold and consumed on the premises.
  • Screen 3: Displays job restrictions by age groups and requests selection of proposed employment.
  • Screen 4: Displays information entered for review prior to printing.


Department of Social Services
80 Academy Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

Mailing Address
PO Box 610
Bryson City, NC 28713


Sheila Sutton, Director
Phone 828-488-6921
Fax 828-488-8271

Office Hours