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Labor Laws

Every year, millions of teens work in part-time or summer jobs that provide great opportunities for learning important skills. We want to help you have a safe and rewarding work experience. Federal and State rules regarding young workers strike a balance between ensuring sufficient time for educational opportunities and allowing appropriate work experiences. The resources on this web site will help you understand what hours you can work and what jobs you can work. 

What Hours Can Youth Work?

If you are 14 or 15, you can work . . .

  • Outside school hours
  • After 7 a.m. and until 7 p.m.
    Except from June 1 through Labor Day, when you can work until 9 p.m.
  • You can work no more than:
    3 hours on a school day,
    18 hours in a school week
    8 hours on a non-school day and
    40 hours in non-school week.
  • Different rules apply to farms, and individual States may have stricter rules.


If you are 16 or older, you can work . . .

Any day, any time of day, and for any number of hours. There are no restrictions on the work hours of youth age 16 or older.

What Jobs Can Youth Do?

When You Are 13 Or Younger . . .

  • You can deliver newspapers.
  • You can work as a baby-sitter.
  • You can work as an actor or performer in motion pictures, television, theater or radio.
  • You can work in a business solely owned or operated by your parents.
  • You can work on a farm owned or operated by your parents.

However, parents are prohibited from employing their children in manufacturing, mining, or any other occupation declared hazardous (listed below) by the Secretary of Labor.

When You Turn 14 . . .

You also can work in an:

  • office,
  • grocery store,
  • retail store,
  • restaurant,
  • movie theater,
  • baseball park,
  • amusement park, or
  • gasoline service station.

You generally may not work in:

  • communications or public utilities jobs,
  • construction or repair jobs,
  • driving a motor vehicle or helping a driver,
  • manufacturing and mining occupations,
  • power-driven machinery or hoisting apparatus other than typical office machines,
  • processing occupations,
  • public messenger jobs,
  • transporting of persons or property,
  • workrooms where products are manufactured, mined or processed, or
  • warehousing and storage.


When You Turn 16 . . .

You can work in any job or occupation that has not been declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor.

Hazardous Occupations
You generally may not work in any of the following hazardous occupations:

  • manufacturing and storing of explosives,
  • driving a motor vehicle and being an outside helper on a motor vehicle;
  • coal mining,
  • logging and sawmilling,
  • power-driven woodworking machines,
  • exposure to radioactive substances,
  • power-driven hoisting apparatus,
  • power-driven metal-forming, punching, and shearing machines,
  • mining, other than coal mining,
  • meat packing or processing (including the use of power-driven meat slicing machines),
  • power-driven bakery machines,
  • power-driven paper-product machines,
  • manufacturing brick, tile, and related products,
  • power-driven circular saws, band saws, and guillotine shears,
  • wrecking, demolition, and shipbreaking operations,
  • roofing operations and all work on or about a roof, or
  • excavation operations.

When You Turn 18 . . .

You can work any job for any number of hours. The child labor rules no longer apply to you.


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