Legal Age to Work in New Mexico

Minimum Age to Work in NM

New Mexico (NM) Quick Reference Table
AgeSummary of Requirements
14-15May work up to three hours a day and 18 hours each week between the hours of 7:00am and 7:00pm.
16-17Unable to perform any occupation that may lead to injury or endanger the health and welfare of a minor.
18-20Must be 18 to work in establishments that sell or serve alcohol for consumption
21Able to serve alcohol for consumption. No restrictions.

New Mexico Child Labor Laws

How Old Do You Have to Be to Work in New Mexico?
Since minors comprise a significant portion of the workforce in the United States today, each state upholds various laws that protect youth from exploitation. With exceptions for work in domestic, agricultural and entertainment settings, these standards regulate the types of work underage workers may perform, and the number of hours allowed in any given allotment of time. In the state of New Mexico, minors as young as 14 may join the workforce and observe these laws.

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Hour Restrictions

Maximum Hours and Times of Day
Throughout the school year, minors under 16 may work up to three hours a day for a total of 18 hours a week on school days. Their work day begins at 7:00am and must end by 7:00pm. On weekends and during vacations, time totals increase to eight daily and 40 weekly hours, and teens can stay on shift until 9:00pm.

Child Employment Entertainment Law

The State of New Mexico enforces a set of rules to protect child performers working on motion pictures, theater, radio, and television productions. The rules require employers to procure a Pre-Authorization Certificate through the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, which remains valid for one year or until the specified project meets completion. The employer must also provide a certified educator for each group of ten or fewer children.

Minors in the entertainment business may only work between 5:00am and 10:00pm, and must finish all performances before midnight on school nights. All children must receive a 12-hour rest break at the conclusion of each work day before the next shift begins. Before starting work in the industry, a licensed U.S. physician must submit written approval that the child remains physically able to handle the stresses of production. 

Hazardous Jobs for Sixteen and Seventeen Year Olds

Some occupations are too hazardous for minors to undertake. New Mexico’s child labor laws prohibit anyone under 18 from working in these dangerous fields under any circumstances. Risky jobs that are off-limits to minors often involve:

  • Explosives
  • Motor-vehicle Drivers
  • Mining
  • Logging and Sawmills as well as the Use of Circular Saws, Band Saws, and Guillotine Shears
  • Power-driven Wood Working Machinery
  • Use of Radioactive Substances
  • Use of Hoisting Apparatus
  • Metal Forming, Shearing, and Punching Machines
  • Slaughtering and Meat Packing
  • Power-driven Bakery Machines
  • Manufacturing of Brick or Tile
  • Wrecking, Demolition, Ship Breaking, and Excavation Operations
  • Roofing Occupations

Prohibited Jobs for Fourteen and Fifteen Year Olds

Minors between the ages of 14 and 15 face even tougher restrictions due to the necessity to keep youth safe from harm. In accordance with the FLSA, the following occupations are unavailable for minors under 16:

  • Mining
  • Manufacturing
  • Laundry processing or dry cleaning
  • Public messenger services
  • Power-driven machinery
  • Using mowers and cutters
  • Use of auto pits or racks
  • Any transportation of persons or property
  • Warehousing and storage
  • Communications
  • Public utilities
  • Construction
  • Working in a Boiler or Engine Room
  • Repair of Machines or Equipment
  • Outside Window Washing
  • Cooking and Baking
  • Operating, Setting Up, Adjusting, Cleaning, or Repairing Power-driven Food Slicers, Grinders, Choppers, or Mixers
  • Work in Freezers or Coolers
  • Loading and Unloading of Goods

Work Permits

In New Mexico, any employment of a minor under 16 requires an employment permit, or a Pre-Authorization Certificate for entertainment industry work. While most young workers get their permit applications while they are in school, others must find the proper documents on their own when school is out for vacation. The following information lays out the details which explain how to get a work permit in the summer.

  • Do you need a work permit during summer?

All job seekers under 16 must have a work permit before pursuing work during the school year or the summer.

  • Where can I get a work permit besides school?

Minors may access work permits through school superintendents, or other designated issuing officers in their school district  They can also get them from the Labor and Industrial Division, or online at the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions website.

  • How do I get a work permit during summer

    • The minor should start by finding an employer willing to hire them
    • Applicants, their guardian and their soon-to-be employer must each complete their section of the permit application.
    • Along with the completed work certificate form, the teen must show proof of age at the time of issuance, This can be in the form of a birth certificate, passport, or any government-issued identification.

The issuing officer will verify that the paperwork meets both state and federal regulations.

source: New Mexico child labor laws

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