While I was watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with my family something struck me. The elves working in Santa’s Workshop manufacturing the toys looked awfully young. Is it possible that the North Pole lacks child labor laws? Is this how Santa keeps his costs down? After all, he needs toys for more than half a billion children.
So, what are Ohio’s child labor laws?
Ages 14 and 15
When school is in session: i) they cannot work between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.; ii) they cannot work for more than 3 hours on any school day; and iii) they cannot work more than 18 hours during any school week
When school is out of session: i) they cannot work between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.; ii) they cannot work more than 8 hours per day; and iii) they cannot work more than 40 hours per week.
Ages 16 and 17
When school is in session: i) 11 p.m. before a school day to 7 a.m. on a school day (6 a.m. if not employed after 8 p.m. the previous night); and there are no limits on hours worked per day or week.
When school is not in session, there are no limits on starting or ending times, or hours worked per day or week.
Unlike adult workers, all minors are required to have a 30 minute uninterrupted break when working more than 5 consecutive hours.
- All minors are prohibited from working in the following occupations:
- Slaughtering, meat-packing, processing rendering
- Operation of power driven slicers; bakery machines; paper product machines; metal forming; punching or shearing machines; circular and band saws; guillotine shears; woodworking machines
- Manufacture of brick, tile, and kindred products
- Manufacture and storage of chemicals or explosives, or exposure to radioactive and ionizing radiation substances
- Coal mining and mining other than coal
- Logging and saw milling
- Motor vehicle, railroads, maritime , and longshoreman occupations
- Excavation operations, wrecking, demolition, and shipbreaking
- Power-driven and hoisting apparatus equipment
- Roofing operations
Only 14- and 15-year-olds are prohibited from the following occupations:
- Manufacturing and warehouse occupations (except office and clerical work)
- Public messenger services occupations
- Work in freezers; meat coolers and all preparations of meats for sale (except wrapping, sealing labeling, weighing, pricing and stocking)
- Transportation; storage, communications, public utilities; construction and repair
- Work in boilers or engine rooms; maintenance or repair of machinery
- Outside window washing from window sills, scaffolding, ladders or their substitutes
- Cooking, baking, operating, setting up, adjusting, cleaning, oiling, or repairing power-driven food slicers, grinders, food choppers cutters, baker type mixers
- Loading or unloading goods to and from trucks, railroad cars or conveyors
- Work with cars and trucks involving pits, racks, or lifting apparatus
- Inflation of tires mounted on rimes equipped with a removable retaining ring
- For-profit door-to-door employment (unless the employer is registered with the Ohio Dept. of Commerce Division of Labor & Worker Safety)
Depending on whether the elves are in school or out of school, and how many hours they are working, Santa may get a pass on elves age 16 and above. For those under the age of 16, however, Santa better lawyer up. For those elves ages 14 and 15, Santa cannot use their labor for manufacturing, warehousing, or loading his sleigh. And under the age of 14, no work at all is permitted.
Of course, this is just Ohio law. Santa’s mileage may vary in the North Pole.