Legal Age to Work in Oklahoma

Minimum Age to Work in OK

Oklahoma (OK) Quick Reference Table
AgeSummary of Requirements
14-15Employment certificate issued by schools; required for all employed minors. Employers are required to have an employment certificate from the school before a minor is allowed to work.
16-17Employment certificate issued by schools; required for all employed minors. Employers are required to have an employment certificate from the school before a minor is allowed to work.
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 Oklahoma?

The minimum age to work in Oklahoma stands at 14 years old. Children working in agricultural endeavors, such as on farms, remain exempt. Young persons working for parents or any business owned by a parent or guardian also remain exempt. Certain activities, such as delivering newspapers, babysitting, or performing minimal chores in private homes and performing in film, stage, or other theatrical performances typically receive no regulating, as well.

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How to Get a Work Permit

When under the age of 16, children in the State of Oklahoma must obtain work permits, also known as Employment Certificates of Age and Schooling, in order to lawfully gain employment. In order to successfully obtain work permits, students must retrieve proper paperwork at an attended school, or from a building in the school district the student would attend if home schooled. The issuing officer typically includes a school principal, headmaster, or an equivalent administrator. The potential employer, parent or guardian, and the student must complete appropriate sections. Once completed, the student gives a copy to the employer to keep on file while the school keeps a copy on file and sends another to the Oklahoma Department of Labor.

Jobs Available to Oklahoma Minors

In accordance with both state and federal regulations, minors under the age of 16 may generally perform only certain occupations and must meet relatively strict requirements. While 14 and 15 year olds may work in retail establishments, only certain activities remain suitable and tolerated. For instance, a minor may perform cashiering, stocking, bagging, and general cleaning but may not work in warehouses unloading and loading goods, operating most hazardous equipment, or perform any baking activities. Other occupations permitted include:

  • Computer Programming
  • Teaching or Tutoring
  • Acting, Playing an Instrument, or Singing
  • Delivery or Errands by Public Transit, Bike, or on Foot
  • Any Yard Work Not Utilizing Power-Driven Equipment
  • Dispensing Gasoline and Hand Washing Vehicles
  • Loading and Unloading Objects for use at a Worksite, such as Rakes, Shovels, and other Tools

Minors ages 16 and 17 generally face fewer restrictions in workplace limitations than younger minors. Additional opportunities working in retail, food service, hospitality, amusement parks, and education may arise. All minors still face certain prohibited occupations and work hour restrictions, as well.

Prohibited Occupations

Any minor under the age of 16 may not work in an occupation considered threatening to the health, morals, and well-being of young individuals. The following list dictates examples of what the State of Oklahoma considers prohibited for minors ages 14 and 15 in terms of occupations:

  • Manufacturing, Mining, or Processing Occupations
  • Public Messenger Service
  • Any Occupation in Connection with Warehousing or Storage
  • Public Utilities
  • Construction and Demolition
  • Utilizing Slicers or Sharp Knives
  • Transporting Individuals by Rail, Air, Water, or Highway
  • Any Power-Driven Machinery other than Office Machines
  • Baking and Cooking
  • Fryers or Grills
  • Ladders and Scaffolding
  • Youth Peddling

Restrictions on Work Hours

While school remains in session, minors must maintain restrictions on the number of hours allowed both per day and week. No minor may work more than three hours on a school day, with the limit resting on 18 hours per school week. On a non-school day, a minor may work up to eight hours. Both 14 and 15 year olds may not work before 7:00am and not after 7:00pm from the Tuesday after Labor Day through May 31.

With school not in session, minors experience less restrictions. Minors may not work more than eight hours a day as opposed to three and up to 40 hours a week instead of 18. From June 1 through Labor Day, minors may not work before 7:00am and not after 9:00pm. Workers also require break periods, as well. For every five hours worked, minors require 30-minute rest periods, while for every eight hours worked, the required rest time equates to one hour.

source: Oklahoma child labor laws

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