Legal Age to Work in Missouri

Minimum Age to Work in MO

Missouri (MO) Quick Reference Table

Age Summary of Requirements
14-15 Must have a work permit. May only work up to three hours on school days, and can only be on the clock between 7:00am and 7:00pm.
16-17 Work permits are unnecessary. Must receive at least a 15 minute break for every 5 1/2 hours of work
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.

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

While children and pre-teens in Missouri are able to perform casual domestic jobs or work in the entertainment industry, they must be at least 14 years old before joining the work force. The state believes that underage workers should be able to enjoy rewarding, safe, and healthy job experiences. As such, the Department of Labor provides minors and their employers with guidelines that ensure youths experience fulfilling work experiences and avoid sacrificing education and personal development.  The following article outlines the rules and regulations for youth employment in Missouri.

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Missouri Child Labor Laws

Work Permit Regulations
Child labor laws in Missouri mandate all minors under the age of 16 acquire employment certifications to work during the school year. Teens often receive these permits through their school superintendents, principals or guidance counselors. Knowing how to get a work permit in the summer can help students get jobs during vacations. 

How to Get Work Certifications

  • Do you need a work permit during summer?

Minors under 16 who wish to work in modeling, film, television or theater must possess an entertainment industry Work Permit, while those seeking other types of employment must have a Work Certificate. This also applies to children working under the direct supervision of their guardian, unless the parent is the sole owner of the business. For 16 and 17 year olds, the requirement of a work certificate is at the discretion of the employer.

  • Where can I get a work permit besides school?

Applications for employment papers are available online at Missouri’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations website.

  • How do I get a work permit during summer?

    • Get a job offer from a potential employer
    • Print and fill out the Sumer Work Certificate application. The minor’s legal guardian and potential employer must also complete and sign the designated sections of the form.
      • Depending on the type of work the teen is pursuing, they may also need to provide a certificate from a physician to prove they are physically and mentally capable of performing their tasks.
    • Submit the completed form along with proof of age (i.e. birth certificate, school records, state ID, etc.) in-person or via email to the Department of Labor for approval.


Hours Restrictions

How Many Hours Can a 14 or 15 Year Old Work?
Work hour restrictions vary depending on whether school is in session. Youths under the age of sixteen can work a maximum of 8 hours on non-school days and 3 hours on school days. When in session, fourteen and fifteen year olds can only work between 7:00am to 7:00pm and total 18 working hours in a week. From June 1 to Labor Day, students are unable to work between 7:00am and 9:00pm and can reach a maximum of 40 hours a week. Underage employees of regional fairs or other specialty venues, may work until 10:30pm outside of the school year. All workers may only work up to 6 days a week. Once minors turn 16, they become exempt from the work hour restrictions of Missouri’s child labor laws

The state of Missouri requires all employers to implement break and lunch hour policies for their juvenile workers. For instance, most companies offer a 30 minute break after five hours of continuous work. However, child entertainers receive a 15-minute paid rest period every two hours and a lunch break every five and a half hours.

Jobs Available to Missouri Minors

What Kind of Jobs Can Minors Work?
Anyone under the age of 16 may work in the entertainment industry. Youths ages 12 to 15 may work casual jobs like babysitting, light yard work or farm work, coaching and officiating youth sports teams, and newspaper delivery. Fourteen and fifteen year olds may work in office administration, retail, grocery services, maintenance for private residences, food preparation and delivery, and car washing and cleaning.

Prohibited Workplaces
The Missouri Department of Labor considers some occupations too dangerous for young, workers. To keep these employees safe, the Department of Labor prohibits anyone under 17 from assuming jobs with a potential risk to life, limb, or personal health. Jobs that are off-limits to individuals 16 and under involve:

  • Operating heavy machinery, motor vehicles and industrial or milling tools
  • Climbing ladders and scaffolding
  • Factory work
  • Working in hotels, motels and resorts
  • Using saws
  • Metal working
  • Door-to-door sales
    • With the exception of church, school or scout troop fundraisers
  • Jobs in establishments with liquor licenses
    • Unless the sale of alcohol makes up more than half of the company’s total revenue

source: Missouri child labor laws

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