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New Bill Exempts Children Under 16 Labor Law – Volunteering for 501(c) Organizations

On Behalf of | May 9, 2016 | Employment Law

Up until recently, children under 16 were, in no way, allowed to work in specific types of establishments, according to the Oklahoma child labor laws. Now there is a new bill, an amendment to the Child labor laws of Oklahoma, which was approved and signed by Mary Fallin on April 10, 2015. The bill states that children under 16 are exempt from Oklahoma labor laws if they are volunteering for a 501(c) organization.

H.B. 1903 follows along with § 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code, recognizing that as long as the child is volunteering for a charitable organization, it is considered lawful. Originally, the Oklahoma Child Labor law forbade children under 16 from working in any of the following:

  • Manufacturing, mining, or processing, including occupations with duties pertaining to manufacturing, mining, or processed.
  • Jobs requiring the use of power-driven machinery or requiring tending of hoisting apparatuses.
  • Jobs that require the operation of motor vehicles or as helpers on vehicles.
  • Public messenger services.
  • Hazardous occupations, specifically for the health of a minor 16 years of age or under, per federal laws and regulations.
  • Jobs (except office or sales work) that transport people or property by rail, highway, air, water, pipeline, or other means; warehousing and storage; communications and public utilities; and construction, demolition, and repair.


The above list of prohibited occupations for children 16 years of age and under does not apply to children who work on farms, for their parents, or who work for any establishment in which a parent owns some type of equity or interest. This section of the child labor laws also does not apply to children who are engaged in the delivery or sale of newspapers to consumers. Delivering or selling newspapers, according to the child labor laws in Oklahoma, is acceptable work for minors.

Child labor laws and restrictions help to protect our children from being exposed to dangerous and hazardous work sites and types of work that could be detrimental to their health or cause them injury. Now, with this new bill in place, Oklahoma allows children under 16 years of age to volunteer for any establishment, including prohibited occupations listed above, as long as it is recognized as a charitable organization under the § 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contact Our Firm Today

If you have any child labor or employment related concerns, contact Frasier, Frasier & Hickman, LLP. Our lawyers have decades of experience winning Oklahoma employment related cases and will help you understand your rights under the law. For a free consultation, call (918) 992 7743.


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