Legal Age to Work in Minnesota

Minimum Age to Work in MN

Minnesota (MN) Quick Reference Table

Age Summary of Requirements
14-15 May work between the hours of 7:00am and 9:00pm, or earlier if delivering newspapers.
16-17 Must end work by 11:00 on school nights, or before 5:00am on school days.
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.

Minnesota Child Labor Laws

Minnesota recognizes the benefits employment offers young people, such as stronger work ethic, extra finances, and increased responsibility. The state also understands the benefits companies receive employing energetic, eager-to-learn youths. Keeping young workers safe remains top priority regarding child labor, and the North Star State enforces a comprehensive set of laws to ensure responsible youth employment.

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How Old Do You Have to Be to Work in Minnesota?

Minors as young as fourteen may join the workforce in Minnesota, though there are some employment opportunities for younger workers. All workers under the age of 18 fall under Minnesota child labor laws, which restrict the number of hours and the environments youths may work in. Different work restrictions apply to different age groups, and limitations gradually diminish as minors age. At 18, youths may work restriction-free as legal adults.

How Many Hours Can 16 and 17 year olds work?

The 16 and 17 year old age group has the fewest hour related work restrictions. On school days, they may begin working as early as 5:00am, and can work as late as 11:00pm on evenings preceding a school day. With written permission from parents or legal guardians, These youths may work as early as 4:30am and as late as 11:30pm, though they must only work outside of school hours unless they are performing agricultural jobs.

How Many Hours Can a Minor Under the age of 16 Work?

Maximum Hours
Minors under the age of 16 may work a maximum of three hours on a school day and total 18 hours in a school week. On non-school days, they may log a total of eight hours in a 24-hour period. During summer break, these minors can work up to 40 hours in a week

Times of the Day
On school days, minors under the age of 16 may work between the hours of 7:00am and 7:00pm unless they are newspaper carriers, in which case they can start earlier. On non-school days, they may work until 9:00pm. It is also illegal for these minors to work during school hours on schooldays unless they have the permission of their local school superintendent.

Prohibited Jobs for Sixteen and Seventeen Year Olds

With the exception of 17-year-old high school graduates, minors are unable to work in environments likely to endanger life, limb, or health. Most occupations that are off-limits to teens involve with the use of hazardous equipment or materials. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry also sets explicit rules regarding work around liquor.

Hazardous Materials
Minors are unable to work with toxic, excessively hot, flammable, or explosive substances. It is also against the law for them to work on the premises of locations which manufacture or store explosives or fireworks.

Hazardous Operations
Inherently hazardous operations include logging, paper mills, saw mills, mines, quarries, construction projects, and ice harvesting. Any work higher than 12 feet above ground or floor-level are also out of reach for minors.

The law prohibits individuals under the age of 18 from any job that involves driving, including bus driver, cabbie and chauffeur. This rule also applies to sea vessels, commercial boats and railway duties.

Jobs involving industrial trucks, meat saws or grinders, woodworking machinery, or milling machines are unavailable for minors, as are any tasks that require assembling, disassembling, or operating amusement park rides This rule also applies to the loading or unloading passengers.

Establish that sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises are unable to hire minors, though teens may work in grocery or retail settings where customers purchase alcohol. Seventeen year olds may also work as bussers, dishwashers and hosts in liquor-serving restaurants.

Prohibited Jobs for Fourteen and Fifteen Year Olds

Minors under 16 are unable to obtain jobs that require them to use certain hazardous machinery, agricultural tools, and operations equipment. Jobs caring for hospital and nursing home patients, or working inside walk-in coolers and freezers are also off-limits to these young teens.

Minnesota state law prohibits minors under 16 from working with heavy machinery such as:

  • Farming tractors with more than 20 horse-power
  • Self-propelled vehicles
  • Snow blowers and lawn mowers
  • Gardening equipment
  • Drills and drill presses
  • Milling machines
  • Grinders
  • Meat slicers
  • Textile-making machinery
  • Baking machinery

Anyone below the age of 16 is unable to legally work on or near airport landing strips, or to provide services as outside helpers for motor vehicles.

Any tasks that involve welding, manufacturing, commercial warehouse operations, loading and launching skeet and trap shooting targets and processing plants remain off limits to youths under 16.

Allowable Jobs for Individuals Younger than 14 Years Old

Any Age
Any Age
Minors at any age may work as actors, performers, or models, though they must have a child labor exemption permit to work in entertainment if they are younger than 16. Chores around the home, like babysitting and lawn care, remain exempt from child labor laws, but must take place within private homes rather than commercial settings.

Minors at Least 11 Years Old
At the age of 11, minors may work as newspaper carriers. With consent of parents or guardians, minors 11 and above may referee and coach youth athletic programs, as well.

Minors at Least 12 Years Old
At 12 years old, minors may work in agriculture with permission from parents or guardians. Parental consent may also allow minors 12 to 15 to work over eight hours a day and more than 40 hours a week. Minors fifteen and below can only work outside of school hours unless they possess child labor exception permits from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

Proof of Age

All minors need to provide proof of age to employers before beginning work. Acceptable documents to show proof of age include copies of birth certificates, copies of driver’s licenses, and school-issued age certificates. Employers then keep copies proving official documentation throughout the duration of employment as part of parole records.

Work Permits

Understanding how to get a work permit in the summer is unnecessary for Minnesota teens, since they are able to get jobs without official working papers. Youth workers must simply adhere to the rules and regulations mentioned in the sections above in order to gain employment.

  • Do you need a work permit during summer?

The state of Minnesota 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
    • Get a job offer
    • Provide your potential employer with proof of your legal age. Employers must keep a copy of this document onsite for each underage employee.

Exemption Applications

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry offers exemption applications for all working minors. The exemption application, allows underage employees to perform some restricted tasks, such as working before 7:00am or after 9:00pm, working more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week, employment during school hours on school days, and employment in prohibited occupations.

Job seekers may find exemption applications downloadable from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry website. The forms need completed and mailed to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry for official approval and issuing

source: Minnesota child labor laws

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