and Health Administration collect much information on children and adolescents. The information includes the work experiences of youngsters, but there is no standard for what information is gathered or for how it is reported. Standard definitions and nomenclature are needed to make the various sources of information more complementary. Immediately needed are appropriate definitions for the following:

  • Work status: When surveying about young workers, it is important to collect information on jobs that are informal or unpaid, short-term or seasonal, during the summer or during the school year, and so forth. Although all agencies need not collect the same information on all work by youngsters, a common rubric or scheme is needed if information collected by different agencies is to be effectively combined or compared.

  • Age groups: Current reporting of data by groups, such as ''under 20" or "15-to-24," ignore critical social and behavioral changes that occur during adolescence, as well as the dividing age that legally defines minors (under the age of 18). More appropriate age groupings are essential for addressing issues related to child labor.

  • Hours of work: Categories should be standardized so that developmentally appropriate levels of investment in employment can be monitored. For example, hours worked per week might be reported in 5-hour increments. It is especially important to be able to discern the frequency at which minors work at different intensities in examining the consequences of work.

Recommendation: Federal agencies that collect data related to work by children and adolescents should establish standardized nomenclature and definitions for such variables as work status, age groups, and hours of work. Those agencies that collect data for health, education, and development purposes should also collect data on the employment of youngsters in their surveys.


The health and safety hazards that face children and adolescents in the workplace and the protections to which they are entitled under the law are little known or understood by the children and

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