On May 20, 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division published a Final Rule designed to modernize child labor regulations. The Final Rule contains new provisions prohibiting children under 18 from riding on a forklift as a passenger, operating balers, and compactors designed or used for new paper products, and work in establishments that manufacture or process meat or poultry products.

Additionally, the Final Rule contains several regulations that expands the opportunity of 14- and 15-year-olds to obtain employment in the workforce and creates a new category of safe jobs. Specifically, Regulation 3, §570.3 and §570.34 removes a 40-year restriction to limit the employment of 14- and 15-year-olds to jobs in the retail, food services, and gasoline service stations. The new regulations allow 14 and 15-year olds to perform safe tasks in other industries. Under Regulation §570.34(b), 14 and 15-year olds can hold jobs of an intellectual or artistic nature that would include computer programming, drawing, and teaching.

The Final Rule also clarifies that employers are required to use the same work week for determining compliance with child labor provisions as used to determine whether employees are due overtime. An information sheet containing the various changes to the child labor regulations has been released by the DOL. These changes will become effective on July 19, 2010.