Legal Age to Work in Kentucky

Minimum Age to Work in KY

Kentucky (KY) Quick Reference Table

Age Summary of Requirements
14-15 May work up to three hours per day and 18hours each week during the school year. Work hours must remain between 7:00am and 7:00pm.
16-17 Dangerous or lifr-threatening occupations are unavailable to minors.
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.

Kentucky Child Labor Laws

State law relating to the gainful employment of minors falls under the jurisdiction of the Kentucky Department of Labor. With a few provisional exceptions, minors may join the workforce at age 14. Though an official work permit is unnecessary, minors must show proof of age in the form of a birth certificate or driver’s license before they can obtain jobs. To understand how to get a work permit in the summer, see the following information. Employers must retain the capability to furnish documentation for the ages of all minors on staff to authorized persons or face legal penalties.

  • Do you need a work permit during summer?

The state of Kentucky allows individuals under 18 to gain employment without a work permit. However, the minor may only work in age-appropriate occupations, and must show proof of age to their employer before beginning the hiring process.

  • Where can I get a work permit besides school?

As a substitute for a work permit, underage job hopefuls can use their school records, state ID or birth certificate to prove that they are eligible for employment. Students can find their academic records at the local board of education office, while applications for a state ID are available at the Circuit Court Clerk’s office.

  • How do I get a work permit during summer?

    • Obtain a proof of age document such as a birth certificate, school record or state ID.
      • Getting copies of documents may require an application fee
    • Apply for a job which has been deemed non-hazardous by the Secretary of Labor
    • Upon receiving a job interview, minors must provide their potential employer with their ID or school record. Employers must keep a copy of this document onsite for each underage employee.

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Work Hours

Hours restrictions exist to ensure young employees continue to make progress in school and do not become overworked. Also, minors must receive a 30 minute break after every five consecutive hours of work, Employers must document their underage employees’ work hours to ensure compliance with state guidelines.

When Can 14 and 15 Year Olds Work in Kentucky?
Generally, fourteen and fifteen year olds may only work between 7:00am and 7:00pm. From June 1st through Labor Day, the nighttime deadline extends to 9:00pm. During school weeks, minors may work a maximum total of 18 hours with up to three hours of work each school day and eight on non-academic days. When school dismisses for extended breaks or holidays, 14 and 15 year old minors may work up to 40 hours a week.

Hours for 16 and 17 Year Olds
For minors 16 and over, work days may begin at 6:00am and end at 10:30pm on school nights. They can also work up to six hours a day for a total of 30 hours a week. On the weekends, these teens can work for eight hours a day and remain on the clock until 1:00am, but must have written parental consent in order to work up to 40 hours a week.

Prohibited Occupations

Many occupations in the Bluegrass State remain inaccessible to individuals under 18 years of age. Authorities deem certain professions unsuitable for minors due to the risk of danger or injuries to the bodily health and well-being of teen workers. The following list outlines the banned occupations for all juveniles:

  • Work with Explosives
  • Driver/Motor Vehicle Helper
  • Logging/Sawmilling
  • Work with Power-Driven Machinery
  • Manufacturing Bricks/Tile
  • Exposure to Radioactive Substances
  • Wrecking/Demolitions
  • Work in Pool/Billiard Rooms
  • Mining
  • Roofing
  • Excavation

Restricted Jobs for 14 and 15 Year Olds in Kentucky
Minors under 16 may not hold any job on the prohibited occupations list. The Kentucky Labor Cabinet specifies operations in mining, manufacturing, and processing as particularly hazardous to children. Power-driven machinery, transportation, and construction trades represent other jobs designated as forbidden to teenagers at fourteen and fifteen years of age.


Though the law typically forbids juveniles from working in establishments which make, sell, or serve alcohol. There are some exceptions. Businesses retailing alcohol as an incidental good not primary to the main function of the company may employ youth workers in jobs otherwise defined as illegal for minors. Individuals under 14 may also hold employment through school programs specifically designed for youth employment training. Labor must remain directly supervised and sponsored by school district personnel.

Golf Caddies
Special regulations allow children to gain employment as golf caddies at 11 years old.  A minor performing this task often carries golf clubs, assists in maintaining the course, and offers help and insightful advice to golfers, when relevant. Minors under 13 may only carry golf bags with wheels, and individuals between thirteen and fifteen years of age can only lift a club bag that weighs less than 35 lbs. Despite all the duties caddies can perform, they are unable to operate a golf cart until they are at least 16.

source: Kentucky child labor laws


  • Craig Graber says:

    Can a 18 year old work overnight shifts in the summer time as long he is not going to school at that time but he has one more year of high school left

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