Legal Age to Work in Delaware

Minimum Age to Work in DE

Delaware (DE) Quick Reference Table

Age Summary of Requirements
14-15 Employer must have a Class 1 work permit, work hours are restricted during the school year. Limited to retail, clerical, and child care occupations. May not work where alcohol is sold or served.
16-17 Employer must have Class 2 work permit. Minors must work between 5:00am and 10:00pm. See the link below for the prohibited occupations
18-20 Must be 18 to work in establishments that sell or serve alcohol for consumption
21 Able to serve alcohol for consumption. No restrictions.

Delaware Child Labor Laws

The State of Delaware strictly prohibits any individual under the age of 14 to participate in employment and enforces various restrictions on employment provisions for any citizen under the age of 18. These guidelines ensure the health and well-being of young citizens, and prevent employment from interfering with their education.

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Minors working in certain occupations are exempt from state restrictions on child labor. These occupations include:

  • Non-hazardous agricultural work
  • Domestic jobs
    • Private housekeeping, yard work, snow removal, etc.
  • Employment with the company of a parent or relative
  • Volunteer work
  • Golf caddying
  • Newspaper delivery
  • Canning
  • Work-study programs
  • Apprenticeships

Employment Certificate

All minors under the age of 18 must obtain an employment certificate before legally participating in gainful employment. Most teens get their work permit applications from their high school, but some minors must learn how to get a work permit in the summer. 

  • Do you need a work permit during summer?

Yes. All individuals under the age of 18 need a work permit in order to gain employment.

  • Where can I get a work permit besides school?

Work permit applications are available under the Child Labor section of the Delaware Department of Labor website.

  • How do I get a work permit during summer?

    • Print the work permit application from the Department of Labor webpage.
    • Underage hopefuls and their potential employers must fill out the form.
      • Legal guardians of 14 and 15 year olds must also sign the document
    • Submit completed application and proof of age to a local board of education office.

Hour Restrictions

How Many Hours Can a 14 or 15 Year Old Work?
In order to uphold state education standards, regulations allow minors aged 14 and 15 to work up to 18 hours a week during the school year. They can perform their jobs between 7:00am and 7:00pm, and can be on the clock for up to 4 hours each day. When school is out for the summer, minors can work up to eight hours a day and 40 hours per week. Hour restrictions also change to permit minors to work as late as 9:00pm.

How Many Hours Can a 16 or 17 Year Old Work?
As minors age, the law affords individuals more autonomy. Each day, 16 and 17 year olds may perform job tasks until they reach a maximum of 12 combined work and school hours.They are also able to take a 30 minute break during a shift that is five or more hours long.

Prohibited Professions

Forbidden Occupations for Minors Under 18
Teens under 16 are also unable to pursue work in the following fields.

  • Work With Blast Furnaces
  • Docks or Wharves
  • Railroads
  • Installation or Repair of Electrical Wires
  • Distilleries
  • Manufacturing of Dangerous or Toxic Chemicals
  • Pilot
  • Firefighter
  • Engineer

Forbidden Occupations for Minors Under 16
The following industries remain legally accessible to minors standing at the age of 16 or 17, but in the interest of youth safety and well-being stand strictly prohibited for Delaware citizens aged fourteen and fifteen:

  • Work Involving Power-Driven Machinery
  • Meat Slicing and Packaging
  • Use of Deep Fat Fryers
  • Cooking/Baking
  • Work Involving Boilers
  • Stripping and Sorting of Tobacco
  • Construction/Demolition
  • Tunneling/Excavation
  • Mines/Quarries
  • Work Involving Coal Breakers or Coke Ovens

source: Delaware child labor laws

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