South Carolina Child Labor Laws

As with many of the Southern states, cotton mills were prevalent in South Carolina during the 1800’s.  After the Civil War, the freeing of the slaves left women and children to play a larger role as workers in these mills.  Often, young children were “helpers” for their older siblings with the older child receiving pay earned by the younger sibling until early child labor laws began to change this.

Child Labor Laws in South Carolina For Minors Under 14​

South Carolina Child Labor Law is directed by the South Carolina Department of Labor and specifies that minors younger than 14 are not allowed to work in order to maintain their physical, mental, and emotional development.  There are a few exceptions, however.  Children may work in acting, including, theater, film, and radio at any age.  At a capable age, minors may begin work in newspaper delivery.  They may also be employed in agriculture as long as their parent also works at the same place.  Children of any age may work in a non-hazardous job in a business owned entirely by the parent.

Child Labor Laws in South Carolina For Minors 14 and 15 Years Old

Minors 14 and 15 years old have certain opportunities available to them without a work permit.  In South Carolina, employment for those in this age group is to be focused on practical experience, responsibility, and social development.  There are particular areas recommended, such as:

  • Clerical
  • Office
  • Service
  • Cleaning fruits and vegetables
  • Stocking, weighing, and pricing produce
  • Gas station work
  • Courtesy services
  • Delivery duties on foot, bike, or bus
  • Cashier duties
  • Cleanup work
  • Car washing/polishing
  • Bagging/grocery
  • Serving foods/beverages

The following Hazardous Occupations are prohibited for this age group, as follows:

  • Warehouse/Storage Work
  • Food Preparation/Use of Grinders
  • Public Utility Duties
  • Car Repair
  • Work on ladders/Scaffolding
  • Operation of Lawn Mowers/Golf Carts

They may not work in establishments which serve or sell alcohol for consumption.

There is a Hazardous Occupations list below from which all minors in South Carolina are restricted.

South Carolina Child Labor Law details restrictions for this age group as follows:

When public school is in session:

  • No working during school hours
  • No more than three hours on school days
  • A maximum of eight hours on non-school days
  • A maximum of 18 hours per week
  • A maximum of 23 hours per week if part of an apprenticeship program, work experience, or career exploration program with some hours during the school day permitted
  • No earlier than 7am or later than 7pm

When public school is not in session:

  • No more than eight hours per day
  • A maximum of 40 hours per week
  • No earlier than 7am or later than 9pm

Child Labor Laws in South Carolina For Minors 16 and 17 Years Old

Minors 16 and 17 years of age may work in a variety of jobs without a work permit being required.  They may not work in establishments that sell or serve alcohol for consumption. 

All minors under the age of 18 are prohibited from working in the following Hazardous Occupations as outlined by the State:

  • Work with Explosives
  • Driving a Motor Vehicle
  • Manufacturing Brick/Tile
  • Logging/Saw Milling
  • Mining
  • Exposure to Radiation Substances
  • Work with Power-Driven Machinery
  • Roofing
  • Meat Packing/Processing
  • Demolition
  • Excavation