Child Labor

Extract from Fifteenth Biennial Report of the Bureau of Labor of West Virginia, 1919- 1920.


The Child Labor Law of 1919 has had the attention of this department since it became effective on May 11, 1919. The West Virginia Child Labor Law being similar in its provisions with the section in the Federal Revenue Act placing a tax on the employment of child, labor, we have only found it necessary to institute few prosecutions for violations. A violation of our state law would also be a violation of the Revenue Act, which most employers strive to avoid. West Virginia is one of the states where a certificate issued under state authority has the same force and effect as if issued under federal authority. For periods of six months at a time, this state has been designated as a state whose child labor law and the enforcement thereof is in accordance with the provisions of Title XII of the Federal Revenue Act of 1918 (Sec. 1203-a). When our state Child Labor Law became effective the Commissioner of Labor supplied each county and city superintendent of schools, who were authorized under the Act to issue permits, with blanks for the administration of the Child Labor Law. The blanks provided for were Work Permits for a child between fourteen and sixteen years of age to be employed continuously. Vacation Work Permits issued only during school vacation periods. Special Work Permits for a child twelve years of age or over to work in business offices and mercantile establishments outside the regular school hours, and Age Certificates for a child above the age of sixteen years. In addition to these blanks two Physician's Certificates are used, one as to the physical age of a child and the other as to the physical fitness of a child. A card on which is stated the number of hours in which a child working under a permit is allowed to work each day and each week with a blank line on which shall be written the time for beginning work, time allowed for meals and time for ending work is furnished employers of child labor to be posted where the child, is working. A duplicate of every permit and age certificate issued in the state is filed in the office of the Commissioner of Labor. From May 11, 1919 to November 30, 1920 the following total number of permits and. age certificates have been filed in this office:

Work Permits2,512
Special Work Permits  995
Vacation Work Permits2,366
Age Certificates3,842


West Virginia Archives and History