Over 300 minors, including two 10-year-olds, were found working across a span of McDonald’s franchises, some during late hours and unpaid. After an investigation, it was revealed that the children were working in violation of federal labor law at 62 different McDonald’s locations in Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana, and Ohio.

As part of the Wage and Hour Division’s investigation, regulators found two 10-year-olds working for no pay and as late as 2 a.m., with one of the children operating a deep fryer. The Louisville, Kentucky-based McDonald’s franchisee operator — Bauer Food LLC — claimed the 10-year-olds were not technically hired to work but were a night manager’s accompanying children.

“Below the minimum age for employment, they prepared and distributed food orders, cleaned the store, worked at the drive-thru window and operated a register,” the Labor Department said Tuesday.

Kentucky’s child labor laws prohibit minors who are under the age of 14 years from working.

“Too often, employers fail to follow the child labor laws that protect young workers,” stated Wage and Hour Division district director, Karen Garnett-Civils. “Under no circumstances should there ever be a 10-year-old child working in a fast-food kitchen around hot grills, ovens and deep fryers,” she added.

In addition to Bauer Food LLC, two other franchisees — Archways Richwood LLC and Bell Restaurant Group I LLC — operate a combined total of 62 McDonald’s stores.

The investigation determined 305 minors were employed among the three franchises, and fines for the business amounted to $212,544 in penalties.

Child labor rules enforce stringent laws regarding when and how long a minor employee may work. Kids who are 14 to 15 years old are barred from working more than 18 hours per school week and cannot clock in before 7 a.m. or clock out after 7 p.m. Shifts can last no longer than eight hours on a non-school day and are limited to a three-hour maximum during school days.

According to the Department of Labor, all three franchisee operators were in violation of children under the age of 16 working hours which exceeded legal time limitations.

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