Legal Age to Work in Minnesota

Minimum Age to Work in MN

Minnesota (MN) Quick Reference Table
AgeSummary of Requirements
14-15Cannot work before 7:00am or after 9:00pm with the exception of a newspaper carrier
16-17Cannot work later than 11:00pm on evenings before school days or before 5:00am on school days
18-20Must be 18 to work in establishments that sell or serve alcohol for consumption
21Able to serve alcohol for consumption. No restrictions.

Minnesota Child Labor Laws

Minnesota recognizes the benefits employment offers young people, such as stronger work ethic, extra finances, and increased responsibility. The state also understands the benefits companies receive employing energetic, eager-to-learn youths. Keeping young workers safe remains top priority regarding child labor, and the North Star State enforces a comprehensive set of laws to ensure responsible youth employment.

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How Old Do You Have to Be to Work in Minnesota?

Minors as young as fourteen may join the workforce in Minnesota. A small number of occupations may staff younger workers; however, a majority of employers remain prohibited from hiring individuals below the age of 14. All workers under the age of 18 fall under Minnesota child labor laws, which restrict the number of hours and the environments youths may work in. Different work restrictions apply to different age groups, and limitations gradually diminish as minors age. At 18, youths may work restriction-free as legal adults.

How Many Hours Can 16 and 17 year olds work?

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry does not set maximum hours sixteen and seventeen year olds may work. On school days, sixteen and seventeen year olds may begin working as early as 5:00am. On evenings with school the following day, minors may work as late as 11:00pm. With written permission from parents or legal guardians, 16 and 17 year old youths may work as early as 4:30am and as late as 11:30pm. Sixteen and seventeen year olds may not work during school hours. Agricultural jobs remain exempt from the rule, as 16 and 17 year olds can work during school hours with no required permits.

How Many Hours Can a Minor Under the age of 16 Work?

Maximum Hours
Minors under the age of 16 may work a maximum of three hours on a school day and total no more than 18 hours in a school week. On non-school days, minors may total eight hours in a 24-hour period. During summer break, minors can work up to 40 hours in a week.

Times of the Day
On school days, minors under the age of 16 may work between the hours of 7:00am and 7:00pm. On non-school days, they may work until 9:00pm. However, newspaper carriers may work prior to 7:00am. A minor may not work during school hours on schooldays, unless issued an employment certificate by a local school district superintendent.

Prohibited Jobs for Sixteen and Seventeen Year Olds

Minors under the age of 18, with the exception of 17-year-old high school graduates, may not work in environments likely to endanger life, limb, or health. Most prohibited occupations involve with the use of hazardous equipment or materials. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry also sets explicit rules regarding work around liquor.

Hazardous Materials
Minors cannot work with toxic, excessively hot, flammable, or explosive substances. Additionally, anyone under the age of 18 may not work on the premises of locations which manufacture or store explosives or fireworks.

Hazardous Operations
Inherently hazardous operations include logging, paper mills, saw mills, mines, quarries, construction projects, and ice harvesting. Any work higher than 12 feet above ground or floor-level also stands prohibited for minors.

Individuals under the age of 18 years old may not work as drivers. Prohibited driving jobs include bus driver, cab driver, and chauffeur. Unless performing non-operation duties, minors may not work on commercial boats or sea vessels. Most railway occupations remain prohibited, as well.

Minors may not use industrial trucks, meat saws or grinders, woodworking machinery, or milling machines. Youths also may not work jobs around amusement parks or traveling carnival rides. Ride operations jobs related to assembling, disassembling, or operating rides as well as assisting in loading or unloading passengers remain prohibited until full adulthood.

Minors may not handle, dispense, or serve alcohol to patrons but may sell the beverages in grocery or retail settings where patrons may not consume drinks on the premises. Anyone older than sixteen years old may bus tables, wash dishes, or perform hosting duties at liquor-serving restaurants.

Prohibited Jobs for Fourteen and Fifteen Year Olds

In addition to working conditions prohibited for individuals under the age of 18, anyone younger than 16 years old cannot use certain machinery, agricultural tools, and operations equipment under Minnesota law. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry also deems caring for patients in hospitals or nursing homes unsafe for minors younger than 16 years old. Additionally, minors may not work in walk-in coolers or meat freezers but may occasionally enter the areas as part of a job.

Minors under sixteen may not work with heavy machinery, like farming tractors or self-propelled vehicles. Power-driven equipment, like snow blowers, lawn mowers, and garden equipment, stands prohibited, as well. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry also prohibits 14 and 15 year olds from using drill presses, drills, milling machines, grinders. Working with meat slicers, textile-making machinery, and baking machinery remains banned as well. With approved tractor or farm equipment safety training, minors between the age of 14 and 16 can operate tractors with more than 20 horse-power and use farming equipment otherwise designated as off limits.

Anyone below the age of 16 may not work on or near airport landing strips. Minors may not provide services as outside helpers for motor vehicles either.

Fifteen and sixteen year olds cannot perform welding of any kind. All jobs in manufacturing, commercial warehouse operations, and processing plants remain off limits to youths, as well. Loading and launching skeet and trap shooting targets cannot be performed by individuals below the age of 16.

Allowable Jobs for Individuals Younger than 14 Years Old

Any Age
Minors at any age may work as actors, performers, or models. Anyone under the age of 16 needs a child labor exemption permit to work in entertainment. Chores around the home, like babysitting and lawn care, remain exempt from child labor laws. For example, a homeowner can hire a twelve year old neighbor to mow his lawn; however, a company cannot hire a 12 year old to perform landscaping at any business or commercial facility.

Minors at Least 11 Years Old
At the age of 11, minors may work as newspaper carriers. With consent of parents or guardians, minors 11 and above may referee and coach youth athletic programs, as well.

Minors at Least 12 Years Old
At 12 years old, minors may work in agriculture with consent from parents or guardians. Parental consent may also allow minors 12 to 15 to work over eight hours a day and more than 40 hours a week. Minors fifteen and below may not work during school hours unless issued child labor exception permits by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

Proof of Age

All minors need to provide proof of age to employers before beginning work. Acceptable documents to show proof of age include copies of birth certificates, copies of driver’s licenses, and school-issued age certificates. Employers then keep copies proving official documentation throughout the duration of employment as part of parole records.

Work Permits

Youth workers do not need to obtain work permits to gain employment in the State of Minnesota. Minors simply need to adhere to the rules and regulations mentioned in the sections above. Individuals wishing to work outside the outlined rules may request to do so with exemption applications.

Exemption Applications

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry offers exemption applications for workers below the age of 16 and 16 to 17 year old workers. The exemption application for youths 16 years old and under offers exemptions for employment under the age of 14, working hours before 7:00am or after 9:00pm, working more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week, employment during school hours on school days, and employment in prohibited occupations. The exemption application for 16 and 17 year olds offers exemptions for prohibited occupations, and employment prior to 5:00am or later than 11:00pm during school sessions.

Job seekers may find exemption applications downloadable from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry website. The forms need completed and mailed to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry for official approval and issuing.

source: Minnesota child labor laws

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