Minimum Age to Work in GAGeorgia (GA) Quick Reference Table
|Age||Summary of Requirements|
|14-15||Work Permits are required for all employed minors under the age of 18.|
|16-17||Work Permits are required for all employed minors under the age of 18.|
|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.|
Georgia Child Labor Laws
First created in 1878, Georgia child labor laws establish the terms and conditions to which all working minors in the Peach State remain bound. The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) takes responsibility for enforcing the longstanding piece of legislation and defines a minor as anyone under the age of 18. Other responsibilities of GDOL include educating school officials and employers about policies affecting underage workers, investigating potential regulatory violations, and ensuring the validity of work permits. In addition to mandating a work permit to validate the employment of minors across the state, Georgia child labor laws go into detail about minimum age requirements, prohibited occupations, exemptions and other acceptable jobs for kids, work hour restrictions, and school attendance obligations.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Work in Georgia?
While federal labor laws impose a legal working age of 14, the minimum age to work in Georgia begins at 12 years old. Permissible jobs for 12 year olds in the Peach State mainly include newspaper sales or delivery positions. However, in cases when federal labor laws differ from state labor laws, stricter regulation applies. Consequently, most Georgia employers operate within the boundaries of the federally sanctioned Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and observe a minimum working age of fourteen or higher. Exceptions to the child labor laws of the state include jobs involving agriculture or domestic services performed in private residences. Minors of any age may also work for businesses owned by their parents or guardians. Unless otherwise noted, underage workers must still attend school during all required hours.
Acceptable Jobs for Kids and Teens
In addition to the exceptions mentioned previously, several popular industries regularly offer acceptable jobs for kids. Parks and recreation, hospitality, and retail represent some of the fields often providing suitable jobs for 14 year olds and older minors in Georgia. Restaurants, both quick- and full-service, frequently employ workers under the age of eighteen, as well. The entertainment industry also serves as a legitimate source of jobs for minors, including children younger than the minimum age to work in other capacities. In general, the State of Georgia authorizes minors to perform customer service or office duties in safe workplace settings free of dangerous machinery or the potential for strenuous physical labor.
Occupations with dangerous or physically demanding job duties typically remain inaccessible to Georgia minors. The state designates certain types of jobs as hazardous for workers under 16 years of age. Jobs for 15 year olds and younger residents of the Peach State may not entail loading or unloading vehicles, cooking, construction work, delivering messages, manufacturing or processing, mining, or operating power-driven machinery, including kitchen equipment and lawnmowers. Other prohibited occupations include jobs involving ladders, scaffolds, dangerous gases, or acids, as well as work performed in freezers or warehouses. In addition to the restrictions contained in Georgia child labor laws, minors need to remain aware of federal labor laws, which prohibit employees up to 18 years of age from handling explosives, logging or sawmilling, working around radioactive substances, and other professional activities not expressly covered by the more lenient regulations of the state.
How Many Hours Can a Minor Work in Georgia?
Georgia labor laws and federal labor laws also differ slightly with regards to work hour restrictions for minors. Under state law, employees under the age of sixteen may work a maximum of four hours on school days, eight hours on non-school days, and 40 hours during non-school weeks. The work must take place outside of school hours while still occurring between the times of 6:00am and 9:00pm. State-imposed restrictions on work hours only apply to minors younger than 16.
Likewise, federal labor laws restricting work hours pertain exclusively to 14 and 15 year old employees. All employers subject to the terms and conditions expressed in the FLSA must observe the federally mandated restrictions, which limit minors to three hours of work on school days, eight hours on non-school days, 18 hours during school weeks, and 40 hours during non-school weeks. Underage employees may only work between 7:00am and 7:00pm and must attend school during regularly scheduled hours. Beginning on June 1 of every year, employed minors may work as late as 9:00pm each night through Labor Day.
Work Permit Procedures
After receiving job offers, Georgia minors under the age of 18 must apply for an employment certificate. Commonly referred to as a work permit, the employment certificate consists of a section for the job seeker, a section for the employer, and a section for the issuing officer to complete. Prior to dispensing the certificate, the issuing officer must verify the birthdate of the minor and review the job duties as described by the employer. Georgia residents may obtain the forms necessary for procuring an employment certificate at a local school district, the office of the county superintendent, or online at the GDOL website. In addition to work permits, underage employees in the Peach State must secure letters from the proper school administrator verifying full-time academic enrollment as well as a consistent record of attendance. Employers keep the attendance letter on file with a copy of the work permit.source: Georgia child labor laws