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

The state of Colorado allows minors as young as 14 to gain employment. Legal guidelines also set boundaries on the jobs these teens can have, as well as the hours they can work. Upon receiving a high school diploma or GED, minors have no obligations to follow these work restrictions under Colorado law.

Colorado Work Permit Regulations

The state of Colorado does not require minors to have a work permit before starting a job. Still, they must prove that they are of legal age to work in certain industries. This proof of age certificate serves as their work permit.

  • Do you need a work permit during summer?

No. State guidelines allows minors to perform job tasks year-round without a work permit. However, they must prove that they are at least 14 years old before they can gain employment under federal law

  • Where can I get a work permit besides school?

While work permits are unnecessary, employers may require minors to receive a school release certificate from the superintendent’s office if their work will carry over into the next semester.

  • How do I get a work permit during summer

Though knowing how to get a work permit in the summer is unneeded, minors will still have to prove to their employer that they are of working age.

  • Choose an occupation that complies with state guidelines for employed minors
    • e. Jobs uninvolved with dangerous or unlawful activities
  • Submit an employment application
  • Provide the employer with government documents that prove the minor is at least 14 years old.
    • Birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, etc.

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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. These kids can perform tasks such as:

  • Shoe shining
  • Golf course caddying
  • Casual housework
  • Non-hazardous farm and yard work
    • Gardening, lawn care and snow removal, etc.
      • Tasks for which dangerous tools and power-driven equipment are unrequired
    • Door-to-door sales
    • Babysitting
    • Newspaper delivery

Jobs for Teenage Minors

Acceptable jobs for 14 to 16 year olds in Colorado range from nonhazardous positions in construction or and manufacturing to occupations in food service or the retail industry. Colorado child labor laws also permit these minors to work in:

  • Warehouses
  • Storage facilities
  • Restaurants and hotels
  • Office environments
  • Gas stations

In these settings, teens can perform janitorial work, parks and recreation jobs, relay messages and run errands.  At 16 years of age, minors may also apply for jobs that require operating a motor vehicle.

Restrictions on Work Hours

To ensure the health and academic progress of working minors, Colorado child labor laws prohibit all minors from working more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours per week. 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. As long as they work 18 or fewer hours each week, these minors can work for up to eight hours on non-school days. Between June 1 and Labor Day, 9:00 PM serves as the latest time an employee under 16 may work 

Hazardous and Prohibited Occupations

In addition to limiting work hours for underage employees, Colorado labor laws designate certain occupations as too hazardous for minors. These jobs may require minors to handle explosives, operate heavy machinery or risk falling from heights of ten feet or more. The list of hazardous jobs includes:

  • Mining
  • Logging
  • Oil drilling
  • Quarrying
  • Meatpacking
  • Roofing
  • Excavating
  • Demolition

Exemptions From Colorado Child Labor Laws

Despite barring minors from various types of hazardous employment, state labor laws do not apply to certain jobs of working minors. These tasks may include:

  • Schoolwork
  • Educational activities
  • Household chores
  • Employment with a parent or relative
  • Performing arts and modeling jobs
source: Colorado child labor laws source: Colorado youth law

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