South Carolina Child Labor Law

Last update: June 10, 2023

Minimum Hiring Age in South Carolina

What is the minimum age to be employed in South Carolina? The legal age to work in South Carolina is 12, but governed by state and federal child labor laws and varies based on:

  • The type of work (e.g., agricultural or non-agricultural)
  • Whether the job is considered hazardous or has prohibited duties.
  • Whether school is in session.
  • The legal status of the minor (e.g., emancipated minors).
  • Whether the job is exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

According to Federal Law (FLSA), a minor must be at least 14 years old to work for an employer (e.g. retail stores, food service establishments and gasoline service stations), with an exception for minors working for a parent or legal guardian who owns the business. This is the reason why you will never see job postings for children under the age of 14.

Age Restrictions

  • Minors under the age of 14: May generally not work. Exceptions:
    • Minors under age 14 may work in any aspect of show business, such as acting or performing in a theatrical, television, radio, or film production.
    • Minors ages 12 and 13 may work during non-school sessions in non-hazardous farm jobs with written parental consent.
    • At any age, minors may work in any business or establishment solely owned and operated by the parent of the minor.
  • Minors under the age of 16: Minors ages 14 and 15 may work in office, clerical and sales jobs. They also may work in a number of jobs in retail, food service and gasoline service establishments, such as:
    • Cashiering, price marking and tagging (by hand or machine)
    • Assembling orders, packing and shelving.
    • Bagging and carrying out orders.
    • Serving foods and beverages.
    • Cleanup work.
    • Car washing and polishing
    • Operating gas pumps and performing other courtesy services
    • Cleaning vegetables and fruits and wrapping, sealing, labeling, weighing, pricing and stocking goods.
    • Delivery and errand work by foot, bicycle or public transportation.
  • Minors under the age of 18: May work unrestricted, exceptions:
    • Manufacturing or storing explosives
    • Driving a motor vehicle and being an outside helper
    • Coal mining
    • Logging and sawmilling
    • Power-driven woodworking machines
    • Exposure to radioactive substances and to ionizing radiations
    • Power-driven hoisting apparatus
    • Power-driven metal-forming, punching and shearing machines
    • Mining, other than coal mining
    • Meat packing or processing
    • Power-driven bakery machines
    • Power-driven paper products machines
    • Manufacturing brick, tile, and related products
    • Power-driven circular saws, band saws and guillotine shears
    • Wrecking, demolition, and ship-breaking operations
    • Roofing operations
    • Excavation operations
  • Selling, serving or waitressing alcohol:
    • In order to work as a bartender in any facility that sells open containers of alcohol, a person must be at least twenty-one years of age.
    • In order to work as a server, waiter or waitress and serve open containers of alcohol, a person must be at least eighteen years of age.
    • In order to work in any capacity in a retail liquor store, wholesale liquor business, or a distillery, a person must be at least twenty-one years of age.

Minimum age to drive motor vehicles (cars and small trucks) on public roads as part of jobs is basically 17 years old, with certain requirements.

Minimum age to serve and bartend alcohol in South Carolina:

Beer Wine Spirits
Serve 18 18 18
Bartend 21 21 21

Work Hours

  • Under 16: Minors ages 14 and 15 may not work:
    • During school hours.
    • Before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. (9 p.m. during the period of summer break of the school district in which the minor resides).
    • More than 18 hours during school weeks.
    • More than 3 hours on school days.
    • More than 40 hours in non-school weeks.
    • More than 8 hours on non-school days.
  • Under 18: Minors ages 16 and 17 - Unrestricted.

Maximum daily and weekly hours and days per week for minors ages 14 and 15:
8-40 school day/week: 3-18

Nightwork prohibited for minors ages 14 and 15:
7 p.m. (9 p.m. during summer break of the school district in which the minor resides) to 7 a.m.

Maximum daily and weekly hours and days per week for ages 16 and 17:
Not regulated

Nightwork prohibited for ages 16 and 17:
Not regulated

Work Permit

Work permit is not required. Age certification is not required, but an age certificate is required by law to be provided on request for minors under 16.

Minimum Wages

The minimum wages in South Carolina is $7.25. South Carolina has no state minimum wage law. Employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act must pay the current Federal minimum wage. FLSA allow employers to pay a youth minimum wage of not less than $4.25 an hour to employees who are under 20 years of age during the first 90 consecutive calendar days after initial employment.


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