Legal Age to Work in Colorado

Minimum Age to Work in CO

Colorado (CO) Quick Reference Table
AgeSummary of Requirements
14-15Must have school release permit to work during school hours. May not work more than 40 hours per week or 8 hours in any 24-hour period.
16-17May not work more than 40 hours per week or 8 hours in any 24-hour period.
18-2018 year olds are not minors and are not subject to Colorado youth laws.
21Able to serve alcohol for consumption. No restrictions.

Colorado Child Labor Laws

Largely centered on issues like wages, employment eligibility, and workplace conditions, Colorado labor laws also include regulations and restrictions exclusively pertaining to jobs for kids and teens. Formally known as the Colorado Youth Employment Opportunity Act (CYEOA), the state’s child labor laws ensure the safety of young workers and apply to all resident minors. The CYEOA defines a minor as anyone younger than 18 years of age. Upon graduating high school or passing the general educational development exam (GED), teenagers no longer qualify as minors under Colorado child labor laws, even if graduation occurs prior to turning 18.

Like the federal labor laws of the United States, the CYEOA sets the minimum age to work at 14 years old. However, Colorado child labor laws also include various sections that authorize minors younger than the legal working age to pursue certain types of jobs. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, which creates and enforces the laws affecting working minors in the state, maintains lists of permissible jobs for kids at different ages ranging up to 16. After turning 16 years old, residents of the Centennial State gain the freedom to perform the work that the law prohibits at younger ages. In addition to listing permissible occupations by age group, the CYEOA specifies restrictions on work hours, exemptions from the law, and hazardous jobs all Colorado minors remain prohibited from holding.

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Jobs for Preteens

Although the minimum age to work in Colorado stands at 14, state labor laws allow minors as young as 9 to work in certain situations. At nine years of age, residents become authorized to obtain employment involving the distribution of marketing collateral, shoe shining, caddying on golf courses, and casual housework performed in the home of the employer. Nine year olds may also accept jobs entailing gardening, lawn care, or snow removal as long as the work does not require the use of power-driven equipment. Upon reaching 12 years of age, minors gain increased opportunities to find other types of work. Permissible jobs for 12 year olds in Colorado include babysitting, nonhazardous farm work, door-to-door sales, and newspaper delivery positons.

Jobs for Teenage Minors

The next age bracket addressed by the CYEOA starts at 14. Acceptable jobs for 14 year olds in Colorado range from nonhazardous positions in construction or manufacturing to occupations in food service or the retail industry. Colorado child labor laws also permit minors within this particular age group to work in warehouses and storage facilities, restaurants, office environments, hotels, and gas stations. Jobs involving janitorial work, parks and recreation, relaying messages, or running errands become legally available to minors at age 14, as well. At 16 years of age, minors may apply for any of the jobs previously mentioned as permissible for younger workers. Other appropriate jobs for 16 year olds in Colorado include positions involving the operation of a motor vehicle.

Restrictions on Work Hours

To ensure the health and academic progress of working minors, Colorado child labor laws place restrictions on the number of hours underage employees may work. The CYEOA forbids all minors from working more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours per week at any time during the year. On school days, employees younger than 16 may only work up to 3 hours between the times of 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM. Minors under the age of 16 may also work up to 8 hours on non-school days as long as total weekly work hours do not exceed 18 during the academic term. Between June 1 and Labor Day, 9:00 PM serves as the latest time an employee may work before turning 16.

Hazardous and Prohibited Occupations

In addition to limiting work hours for underage employees, Colorado labor laws designate certain occupations as too hazardous for minors. The list of hazardous jobs includes mining, logging, oil drilling, quarrying, meatpacking, roofing, excavating, and wrecking. Minors in Colorado also remain prohibited from seeking jobs involving the handling of explosives, the operation of power-driven machinery, or the risk of falling from heights of 10 feet or more.

Exemptions From Colorado Child Labor Laws

Despite barring minors from various types of hazardous employment, the CYEOA also exempts certain activities from the authority of Colorado child labor laws. In general, state labor laws do not apply to schoolwork and educational activities, chores completed at home, work performed for a parent, newspaper delivery positions, or occupations related to the performing arts, such as acting and modeling. The State of Colorado does not require a work permit for exemptions nor for jobs affected by child labor laws.

source: Colorado child labor laws source: Colorado youth law

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