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Under certain controlled circumstances, high school students may be involved in paid work-based learning experiences. In North Carolina, these circumstances are determined and specified by the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Special provisions are allowed for student learners and apprentices under the current law. The following documents include the law and a simplified version of the law which also describes the implementation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act as they apply to work-based learning and the employment of Children under 18 years of age.


"Production work" is a generic term meaning production activities and services performed by a class(es) under contract with a second party for remuneration. (GS. 115C-160[S]). Such activities and services are instructional in intent and purpose. They include such activities as live project, customer work, supervised work activities, and other similar terms. Implementing a local school-to-work partnership can pose a number of questions about laws and regulations, especially with regard to work-based learning components. School-to-work partners and potential partners may have specific questions about liability, the application of labor standards and other issues. Often, a broad and clearly stated opinion of even the most fundamental legal problem is hard to find.


The Production Work Handbook, Revised (pdf, 0kb), was developed to provide leadership and direction to local education agencies (LEAs). This publication contains definitions, rules, regulations, guidelines, and administrative and instructional suggestions that are intended to be of assistance to LEAs planning, implementing, and evaluating, production work activities as part of their educational programs.

Use the Production Work Handbook, Revised (pdf, 0kb), as a guide for program planning and development. It provides a general application of legal and related issues pertaining to production work activities in North Carolina schools. However, this handbook cannot anticipate all variables. The information in this document is not offered as, and should not be cited as legal advice. It is also not intended to substitute for the advice of attorneys who advise or represent individuals or institutions with an interest in participating in work-based learning activities. The information in this handbook is based upon laws that were current at this time of its development and revisions. An attorney should be consulted about the range of legal issues and their application.

Production Work Handbook (pdf, 0kb). A Handbook for Administering Production Work Activities in Secondary Vocational Educational Programs" Revised, March 1997

Fair Labor Standards Act

Wage & Hour Bureau - NC Department of Labor

North Carolina Wage and Hour Act (PDF)

Child Labor Requirements in Nonagricultural Occupations in North Carolina

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