Legal Age to Work in Montana

Minimum Age to Work in MT

Montana (MT) Quick Reference Table

Age Summary of Requirements
14-15 Must work outside of school hours and between 7:00am and 7:00pm. May log a maximum of three hours a day and 18 hours a week during the school year.
16-17 Must work outside of school hours and between 7:00am and 7:00pm. May log a maximum of three hours a day and 18 hours a week during the school year.
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.

Montana Child Labor Laws

The Employment Relations Division, or ERD, sets regulations for working minors regarding work in the State of Montana. These child labor Laws include age conditions, dangerous and forbidden occupations, and acceptable labor hours.

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What Age Can Children Work in Montana?

Minors in Montana can join the workforce at 14 years old, provided they follow the legal guidelines for employment. Rules and job restrictions for underage workers become more lenient over time, allowing teens more workplace freedom as they age. Although all individuals under the age of 18 are minors in the eyes of the law, 16 and 17 year olds who have graduated high school, earned a GED, or are enrolled in a state or federal apprenticeship program are exempt from following child labor laws.


Despite Montana’s minimum age requirement for working minors, there are some instances where children under 14 can earn money. With written consent and constant supervision from a parent or guardian, kids can perform non-hazardous farming, yard work and lawn care duties, as well as some domestic tasks like babysitting and housekeeping for private residences. Entertainment-related occupations, such as acting, modeling, and performing music are available to these children as well. Provided the work takes place outside of school hours, there are a variety of jobs available to pre-teens. 

Hazardous Occupations
The law recognizes that some occupations may be dangerous to minors. As such, there are laws that prevent them from performing any task that is likely to bring about bodily injury. The following list details several prohibited positions and duties for any individuals less than 18 years old:

  • Work with Power-driven Machinery
  • Work with Explosives
  • Mining
  • Exposure to Radioactive Substances
  • Slaughtering/Meat Packing/Processing
  • Demolition/Wrecking
  • Roofing
  • Excavation
  • Manufacturing Brick or Tile
  • Riding Outside a Motor Vehicle

Work for 14 and 15 Year Olds
There are also jobs that are off-limits to youths under the age of 16. Restricted fields include:

  • Communications
  • Public utilities
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing jobs
  • Warehouse work
    • Excluding office tasks
  • Working in meat coolers or freezers
  • Meatpacking and processing

Banned Agricultural Work
Montana youths working in the agricultural field must observe some job restrictions as well. Those in work-study programs or who have proper certification may perform otherwise hazardous jobs on farms, but other minors are unable to take on duties that involve:

  • Working from a Ladder or Scaffold of 20 Feet or Higher
  • Working with Timber with a Diameter of 9 Inches or More
  • Handling Toxic Chemicals
  • Work with Blasting Agents

Employer Information

Though work papers are typically unnecessary for underage workers in Montana, a 16 or 17 year old must prove their age if they hope to work in a dangerous field . Before starting their summer job search, each underage employee must understand how to get a work permit in the summer. Employers who refuse to uphold this requirement may face up to six months in jail or pay fines of up to $500.

  • Do you need a work permit during summer?

Work permits are unneeded for minors to gain employment in Montana. However, they must prove that they are at least 16 years old before they are able to work in potentially hazardous industries.

  • Where can I get a work permit besides school?

Teens can use a state-issued ID, birth certificate or passport to show their age and prove they are eligible to work in certain occupations.

  • 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.

What Hours Can 14 and 15 Year Olds Work in Montana?

To avoid conflicting with school schedules or imparing academic performance, labor for students younger than 16 may only occur between 7:00am and 7:00pm, or as late as 9:00pm during the summer They also have a maximum of three daily and 18 weekly workable hours available to them. Non-school working hours must remain under eight per day and 40 per week. Additionally, school-supervised work programs allow minors to work up 23 hours in a single week regardless of school hours.

source: Montana child labor laws

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