The N.C. Wage and Hour Act (WHA) has a limited exemption for driving a motor vehicle on the public roads and highways for 16- and 17-year old youths as long as the driving is done within a 25 mile radius of the business and as long as certain other requirements are met including the youth holding a valid North Carolina driver's license.
This section is found in N.C.G.S. '95-25.5(l).
However, we also supervise the issuance of youth employment certificates for youths under the age of 18 employed by most businesses in North Carolina regardless of State coverage or coverage under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) except for governmental, agricultural, and domestic employers.
The child labor provisions of the FLSA restrict the driving of motor vehicles on the public roads and highways for all youths under the age of 18 as a part of their employment.
The federal child labor regulations have a limited exception for driving a motor vehicle on the public roads and highways only for youths who are at least 17 years old.
Again, there are certain requirements that must be met in order for an employer to be in compliance.
However, it is our position that the restrictions for driving a motor vehicle on the public roads and highways for youths under the age of 18 is just that: A restriction for driving a motor vehicle only on the public roads and highways.
Therefore, it is our position that 16 and 17 year old youths are not restricted from driving a motor vehicle on private property as long as the youths do not have to drive motor vehicles on the public roads and highways at all including the crossing of a public road or highway.
The approval of 16 and 17 year old youths to drive on private property has nothing to do at all with the fact that a 16 or 17 year old youth has a valid driver's license or not.
The driving of a motor vehicle on private property is prohibited for youths under the age of 16 simply because youths under the age of 16 cannot operate power driven equipment as a part of their employment.
The prohibition of the operation of power driven equipment by youths under the age of 16 includes, but is not limited to, lawn mowers (both push and rider), weedeaters, cars, trucks, and golf carts (both electric and gas powered).
If the issue involves the federal child labor requirements under the FLSA, then you need to contact the United States Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division in either Charlotte at 704-749-3360 or Raleigh at 919-790-2741 for clarification of valet parking for 16 and 17 year old youths. Go directly to the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 570 for the federal child labor requirements.