The federal Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits employers from legally hiring an 11-year-old to work in most jobs. At this age children can deliver newspapers, babysit, be an actor or performer, or work at home making evergreen wreaths, advises YouthRules!
Parents can hire their 11-year-old child to work in a business they own, as long as the position is not a hazardous job, such as one in mining or manufacturing, advises YouthRules! Children can begin working legally in most nonhazardous jobs when they turn 14 years old.
Children under the age of 12 can work agricultural jobs on farms if their parents give permission, states YouthRules! The job must not be hazardous and all work must be scheduled outside of school hours. Employers must get a waiver from the U.S. Department of Labor to employ an 11-year-old as a harvest workers, advises Nolo. The child can only work eight weeks per year. If parents own or operate the farm, they can hire their children to do any job at any age.
In addition to federal laws, employers should check their state labor laws before hiring an 11-year-old. Some states place stricter requirements on child labor or may require the child to get a work permit. For example, Indiana law requires children to be 14 years old to work most jobs, even if the parents own the business, states the Indiana Department of Labor.