Can parents force their children to do work, and unpaid, just because it’s a family business?

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Can parents force their children to do work, and unpaid, just because it’s a family business?

I have a young friend who’s about 15 years old. Her mother is in a family business and so she forces my friend to work there, too. Not only that but the mother also forces her child to do her shifts, while the mother still gets paid for it. The mother punishes her child when her child won’t do the work. Is this legal? I’ve heard that

Asked on October 9, 2019 under Business Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Yes, parents can make children help out in family businesses, the same way they can make children help out around the house, make them watch younger siblings, do chores, care for animals (whether pets or, as at a farm, livestock), etc. When it's all internal to the family, such as a family business, the parents have extraordinary discretion over their children's time and activities.


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