Family & Age Discrimination, and Child Labor

Read this in: Spanish / Español
Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid


Family Discrimination is prohibited: Generally, an employer cannot terminate a contract, dismiss you early, or fail to offer a living space simply because you have a family. 


Age Discrimination is prohibited: Bosses cannot fire or terminate contracts for workers because of their age. Worker hours, salaries, and benefits of employment cannot be reduced in order to provide employment to younger workers working at a reduced rate or rates for younger, less skilled employees (see the table). 

There are a few exceptions to the previous rules. Workers who believe they have suffered discrimination should call Iowa Legal Aid or the Department of Justice Special Counsel at 1-800-255-7688. 


Child Labor: Children should be at least 12 years old to work in the fields with their parents, unless they receive an exemption from the Department of Labor. Children need to be at least 17 years old to do dangerous work (work with machinery). Children under 17 normally cannot work during school time. 


Agricultural Activities 


Permitted Activities 

Permitted Hours 

Other Conditions 






Not dangerous 

Unlimited hours outside of school 



Not dangerous 

Unlimited hours outside of school 

Written consent of the parent or worker on the farm where parents work.  


Not dangerous; temporary crops harvested by hand 

Limited to 5 hours per day and 30 hours per week outside of school. 

Under the form of exoneration granted by DOL, which includes various protections including parental consent.  


Children may be subject to training wage: A worker younger than 20 years old may be paid the lowest salary (no lower than $4.25 per hour) during the first 90 days of work. After the first 90 days of work, the worker should receive minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour. 

Last Review and Update: Oct 25, 2022
Back to top