Legal Age to Work in Arkansas

Minimum Age to Work in AR

Arkansas (AR) Quick Reference Table
AgeSummary of Requirements
14-1514 – Minimum age for employment outside school hours, except in specified occupations.
16-17May be employed in any occupation, except the operation of a taxi or the sale, transport, or handling of alcohol.
18-20Must be 18 to work in establishments that sell or serve alcohol for consumption.
21Able to serve alcohol for consumption. No restrictions.

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Arkansas Child Labor Laws

The Labor Standards Division of the Arkansas Department of Labor, or DOL, regulates the lawful functioning of paid employment operations for persons less than 18 years of age in the state. The DOL labels certain occupations as hazardous for minors, sets work permit rules, and creates hour provisions to keep teens from unsafe or overworked conditions, which potentially could interfere with school progress or personal wellness. Laws exist to ensure children continue to enjoy beneficial opportunities for work experience. With few exceptions, the minimum age for employment in Arkansas stands at 14 years of age.

Applicability
Though child labor provisions typically apply to individuals under the age of 18, special cases remain possible. If a minor between the ages of sixteen and eighteen graduates from any high school curriculum, vocational program, or technical school, underage work regulations no longer hold legal relevance for the individual. Additionally, married persons or parents stand exempt from minor labor laws. The DOL intends none of the provisions set forth to interfere with the industrial education of children.

What Hours Can a Minor Work in Arkansas?

For individuals under 16 years of age, 48 remains the maximum amount of work hours allowable during a week. The daily limit stands at eight hours of labor, and employment must take place between 6:00am and 7:00pm. Employees sixteen and up may work 54 hours a week, 10 hours a day, and until 11:00pm on school nights. On non-school nights, preceding a day without classes, the evening work may generally extend to 9:00pm for 14 and 15 year old workers and 12:00am for employees 16 years of age and older. No minors may work more than six days in any given week.

Additional Provisions for 16 and 17 Year Olds
Individuals over the age of 15 may work past 12:00am or before 6:00am on non-school nights, provided the work does not take place as part of specific, prohibited occupations. Holding underage employment does not constitute a valid excuse for absence or poor performance in school. Restaurant jobs, other than fast food establishments with drive-thru windows only, and convenience and retail stores with an area of less than 4,500 square feet, stand prohibited during late hours. Other restricted fields include:

  • Businesses Serving Alcohol
  • Adult/Nude Entertainment
  • Security Guard Jobs
  • Gambling Establishments/Race Tracks
  • Truck Stops/Gas Stations
  • Delivery jobs

Employment Certificates

To gain employment in the Natural State, minors under 16 normally must possess an employment permit specifying the scheduled hours, duties, and particular employer details relevant to each separate job. The applicant must provide an acceptable document for age verification, such as a passport, school record, or a birth certificate, and attach the proof to the form. Signatures on the certificate also stand required of the minor, parent or guardian, and the specific employer to which the permit applies. The Labor Standards Division of the DOL issues the certificate when the appropriate conditions become satisfied and maintains the right to revoke the permit in the case of justifiable cause.

Wages for Minors

Usually, Arkansas minors must earn at least the same lowest-lawful rates of pay as set for adults. However, exceptions exist to allow an employer to pay a juvenile less than minimum wage. If both parties, manager and employee, sign the eligibility form and meet the requirements, the pay may stand at 85% of the applicable minimum wage for duties performed. The employer must still pay the minor the normally required salary after more than 20 hours of work during a school week or more than 40 hours of work during a non-school week.

Restricted Occupations

Prohibited Work for Youths in Arkansas
Hazardous work remains forbidden for minors 15 years of age and younger. Some occupations prove especially dangerous to less experienced workers. Complete restriction information stands available through the Arkansas DOL. The following list outlines some of the prohibited jobs deemed hazardous for all minors under 16:

  • Work with Power-driven Machinery
  • Railroad Work
  • Work in Alcohol-Serving Establishments
  • Manufacturing
  • Mining
  • Construction
  • Work with Explosives
  • Slaughtering/Meat Packing
  • Logging/Sawmilling

Agricultural Jobs for Minors

Farming jobs in Arkansas remain covered by most of the same provisions as non-agricultural jobs. However, a separate list of restricted occupations specific to the farming industry details positions and duties potentially injurious or unsafe for minors. Work off-limits to juveniles includes:

  • Operation of a Tractor of 20 PTO Horsepower
  • Operation of Harvest Equipment
  • Work in a Pen with a Bull/Horse/Boar Maintained for Breeding Purposes
  • Driving a Car/Truck/Bus to Transport Passengers
  • Work in Fruit Silos/Granaries/Manure Pits

Exemptions

Student learners often gain access to otherwise restricted jobs through training programs. Children may work without restriction for a company owned, operated, and directly supervised by a parent of the minor. Special permissions apply for youth working as batboys or batgirls for professional baseball leagues, as well. Several exemptions also exist for jobs in the entertainment industry, as defined by the DOL.

source: Arkansas child labor laws
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