Child Labor Laws in Texas
This summary is not a complete text of child labor laws in Texas, nor is it written in the exact language of the law. It is intended as an informal educational tool for filmmakers. A detailed summary is available on the Texas Workforce Commission's (TWC) Web site at www.twc.state.tx.us/ui/lablaw/cllsum.html.
Texas' child labor laws apply to all children under the age of 18 working in Texas, whether or not they reside in the state.
NOTE: By California law, when a California employer takes a resident minor out-of-state, California laws apply. In addition to the child labor laws, specific laws apply to employment of child actors under age 14; children under age 14 working as extras; children aged 14-15; and children aged 16-17.
Generally, children under the age of 17 may not drive on public roadways as part of their employment. Seventeen-year-olds may drive as part of their employment, but only if certain conditions are met. For a list of these conditions, contact the TWC, or see the Web site shown above.
Child Actors Under Age 14
Prior to employment, every child actor under age 14 (except those working as extras; see below) must have an authorization of employment from the TWC. To apply:
- fill out the application form available from the TWC's Labor Law Section (in Texas, call 800-832-9243; outside Texas, call 512-475-2670);
- attach a recent, 1½ inch x 1½ inch photo of the child;
- include proof of age, such as a copy of the child's birth certificate; and
- have the application signed by the child's parent or legal guardian.
The TWC may then issue its authorization for employment in the form of an ID card. The card is valid until the child's 14th birthday, unless the TWC designates an earlier expiration date.
Child actors under the age of 14:
- may not be employed in a manner that results in failure to receive class credits because of unexcused class absences, or in a manner that results in violation of the State Compulsory School Attendance Law;
- may not be employed in a position declared hazardous by the TWC, as defined in Section 51.014 of the Texas Labor Code;
- may not be employed between 10:00PM and 5:00AM on a day that is followed by a school day, or between midnight and 5:00AM on a day that is not followed by a school day (even during summer vacation), unless with parental consent, and provided that the child does not work again for the same employer within 12 hours after completing work, and does not work in excess of eight hours in one day or 48 hours in one week;
- may not be employed where the child is required to use a dressing room which is simultaneously occupied by an adult or by children of the opposite sex;
- may not be employed where the child is not provided with a nursery or suitable place to rest or play;
- may not be employed where the child is sent to wardrobe, makeup or hairdressing without the general supervision of the child's parent or guardian;
- may not be employed where the parent or guardian is prevented from being present at the place of employment while the child is working;
- may not be employed where the parent or guardian is prevented from being within sight and sound of the child at any time; and
- may not be employed for more than two consecutive school days during a school year in which the child is legally required to attend school, without being furnished with a tutor. The tutor shall be certified to teach in Texas by the Texas Education Agency, and shall make reasonable efforts to coordinate subjects and assignments with the child's classroom teacher(s).
Extras Under Age 14
The TWC may grant special authorization for children under age 14 to be employed as extras without Authorizations for Employment if the employer:
- communicates with the TWC prior to the actual work being performed, identifying the employer, the project, the approximate number of extras intended to be employed on the particular project, and the anticipated dates of employment;
- uses reasonable efforts prior to employment to establish each child's age;
- secures the written consent of the child's parent or guardian;
- provides all affected school principals with reasonable information concerning the proposed use of their students in the particular project; and
- submits a written postproduction report to the TWC, within ten days following the last day extras are employed, including the name, Social Security number, date of birth, and inclusive dates of employment for each child actor employed as an extra.
For further information on employing children under age 14 as extras, see "Application Exceptions," Section 817.32 of the Texas Child Labor Rules.
Children Ages 14-15
Actors aged 14-15 are not considered to be child actors, so the rules for child actors do not apply. But their employment is subject to Texas' child labor laws, so children ages 14-15 may not work more than eight hours in one day, or 48 hours in one week; they may not work between the hours of 10:00PM and 5:00AM on a day that is followed by a school day; and they may not work between the hours of midnight and 5:00AM on a day that is not followed by a school day (even during summer vacation). Also, children aged 14-15 may not be employed in a position declared hazardous by the TWC; see Section 51.014 of the Texas Labor Code.
Parental permission alone is not enough for the child to work outside the specified hours of employment, and it is extremely rare for the TWC to grant any exemption in the specified hours. For further information on hours of employment and hardship exemptions, see Section 51.013 of the Texas Labor Code.
NOTE: Federal child labor law has stricter limitations than State of Texas law on hours of employment for children aged 14-15. Under federal law, children aged 14-15 may work no more than three hours on a school day, 18 hours in a school week, eight hours on a nonschool day, or 40 hours in a nonschool week. In addition, they may not begin work before 7:00AM nor work after 7:00PM, except from June 1 through Labor Day, when evening hours are extended until 9:00PM. Children aged 14-15 who are enrolled in an approved Work Experience and Career Exploration Program (WECEP) may be employed for up to 23 hours in school weeks and three hours on school days (including during school hours). For further details, see the U.S. Department of Labor's Web site at www.dol.gov.
Children Ages 16-17
Actors aged 16-17 are not considered to be child actors, but their employment is subject to Texas' child labor laws. Neither the State of Texas or the federal government restricts hours of employment for children aged 16-17.
For more information on child labor laws in Texas, please contact:
Labor Law Section Manager
Texas Workforce Commission
Regulatory Integrity Division