Legal Age to Work in Missouri

Minimum Age to Work in MO

Missouri (MO) Quick Reference Table
AgeSummary of Requirements
14-15Work Certificates are required. Must work between the hours of 7:00am and 7:00pm. No more than three hours during school days.
16-17No work permit required. Cannot work more than 5 1/2 hours without a 15 minute break.
18-20Must be 18 to work in establishments that sell or serve alcohol for consumption
21Able to serve alcohol for consumption. No restrictions.

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

The state of Missouri supports the belief that a first job can lend great discovery and enrichment to a young adult. To get young workers started on the right foot, the Show Me State works closely with employers and school systems so young workers enjoy rewarding, safe, and healthy job experiences. Most of the state child labor laws apply to minors under the age of 16 to ensure youths experience fulfilling work experiences without sacrificing education and personal development. Individuals as young as 14 years old may work a variety of jobs in Missouri as well, so long as employers satisfy health, safety, and maximum working hour requirements established by the Missouri Department of Labor. Individuals below the age of 14 may not work any job for any extent of time, with the exclusion of entertainment and casual work. The following article outlines the rules and regulations for youth employment in Missouri.

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Missouri Child Labor Laws

Work Permit Regulations
Child labor laws in Missouri mandate all minors under the age of 16 years old acquire employment certifications to work during the school year. Required for all industries except entertainment, work certifications must be issued through the school each youth attends, whether public, private, charter, or home school. In public school systems, superintendents issue work certificates. Charter schools require certifications from the chief executive office, and principals issue work permits at private schools. Home-schooled youths need to obtain work certification authorized by parents.

How to Get Work Certifications
To receive a work permit, a child must show a written statement of intent to hire from the perspective employer, written consent from a parent or legal guardian, and proof of age from a birth certificate or other official document to an issuing officer. In addition to the standard requirements, the officer issuing a work certification may ask for proof of student grades. In some instances, an issuing office may ask for a certificate from a physical that approves mental and physical health of the child.

Working for Parents
Parent employers must adhere to the same work certification laws that apply to standard businesses. Even youths working under direct parental supervision require official work certification to legally begin a job. Working under direct control of a parent in a business wholly owned by a parent stands as the only exemption to needing a state-approved work certification.

Work Permits and the Entertainment Industry
The entertainment industry remains exempt from requiring standard work certification for minors. Instead, youths under the age of 16 must obtain special work permits. Issued by the director of the Missouri Division of Labor standards, an entertainment work permit requires proof of age, signed permission from a legal guardian, and a written statement of intent from the prospective employer. School officials may revoke work permits if they feel the work adversely affects the ability for youths to learn.

Age Certification
Minors 16 to 18 seeking work may need to acquire age certification from their schools. Though not mandated for all jobs, age certification must be provided for jobs requesting such protocol.

Hours Restrictions

How Many Hours Can a 14 or 15 Year Old Work?
Youths under the age of sixteen can work a maximum of 8 hours on non-school days and 3 hours on school days. Acceptable working hours vary by whether school is in session or not. When in session, fourteen and fifteen year olds can only work between 7:00am to 7:00pm and total no more than 18 working hours in a week. From June 1 to Labor Day, students may work between 7:00am and 9:00pm and reach a maximum of 40 hours a week. If employed by regional fairs or other specialty venues, youths may work until 10:30pm when school is not in session. At no point may someone under the age of sixteen work more than 6 days a week.

In every industry except entertainment, employers may discern rules regarding breaks for youths below the age of 16. Employers may provide special provisions or apply standard breaks and lunch hour policies. In the entertainment industry, the Missouri Department of Labor requires that youth workers receive a 15-minute paid rest period every two hours and a lunch break every five and a half hours.

How Many Hours Can a 16 or 17 Year Old Work?
Missouri does not set hour restrictions for sixteen and seventeen year olds. Anyone over the age of 16 may work standard hours that apply to adults in the workforce. Though allowed to work the same hours as adults, sixteen and seventeen year olds remain prohibited from working in environments deemed hazardous by the federal child labor laws.

Jobs Available to Missouri Minors

What Kind of Jobs Can Minors Work?
Anyone under the age of 16 may work in the entertainment industry. Youths ages 12 to 15 may work casual jobs, which include babysitting, occasional yard and light farm work, coaching youth sports teams, officiating youth sporting events, and newspaper delivery. Fourteen and fifteen year olds may work in office administration, retail sales, grocery services, maintenance for private residences, food preparation and delivery, and car washing and cleaning.

Prohibited Workplaces
The Missouri Department of Labor deems some occupations too dangerous for young, inexperienced workers. To keep youth workers safe, the Department of Labor prohibits anyone 16 years old and below from assuming jobs which may hold potential risk of life, limb, or personal health. Jobs involving the operation of heavy machinery, motor vehicles, and industrial or milling tools remain strictly off limits to anyone below 16 years old. The use of ladders and scaffolding also prove too dangerous for young workers. However, youths may use domestic lawn and garden tools and machinery.

The nature of some work environments makes certain jobs off limits to minors. Environments with inherent dangers, such as metal-producing factories and saw mills, may not hire anyone younger than 16. Hotels, motels, and resorts remain inaccessible to minors, as well. Establishments that sell, bottle, or store alcoholic beverages may not employ minors unless more than half of total business revenues come from the sale of other items. Going door-to-door proves a dangerous, unpredictable work environment for minors and remains prohibited to youths by law, with the exception of programs relating to churches, school, and scout troops.

source: Missouri child labor laws

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