Can kids under 16 legally mow their parent's lawn? - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Can kids under 16 legally mow their parent's lawn?


Since child labor laws don't allow kids under 16 to operate lawn mowers and weed trimmers for an employer, can they mow the lawn for their parents? What about mowing for their neighbors or a grandparent halfway across town?

According Gail Sheridan-Lucht, Attorney for Iowa Labor Commission, there is an exemption that allows a child to be "working in or around any home." She admits the law doesn't specify mowing, and that the labor department considers the topic somewhat of a gray area.

"Over the years it's been interpreted by our office that in and around the home is your home or your close neighbor's home. Going to grandma's across town wouldn't be around your home. So we would say in that case that would not be allowed," said Sheridan-Lucht.

Sheridan-Lucht said there is an exemption that allows underage kids to work in a business operated by their parents, as long as their parents are physically on site supervising.

Other interesting tidbits: Iowa law doesn't allow anyone under age ten to work.

There are specific hours that 14 and 15 year-olds can work. During the school year they can work between 7am and 7pm. During the summer months that's extended until 8:30pm.

However, under Iowa Code newspaper delivery is considered a street occupation. There is an exemption that allows kids to deliver papers starting at four in the morning.

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