Legal Age to Work in Montana

Minimum Age to Work in MT

Montana (MT) Quick Reference Table
AgeSummary of Requirements
14-15Cannot work during school hours, before 7:00am or after 7:00pm, or be employed more than 3 hours on a school day and 18 hours in a school week.
16-17Cannot work during school hours, before 7:00am or after 7:00pm, or be employed more than 3 hours on a school day and 18 hours in a school week.
18-20Must be 18 to work in establishments that sell or serve alcohol for consumption
21Able to serve alcohol for consumption. No restrictions.

Montana Child Labor Laws

The Employment Relations Division, or ERD, sets regulations for minors regarding work in the State of Montana. Laws include provisions related to age conditions, dangerous and forbidden occupations, and acceptable labor hours. A division of the Department of Labor and Industry, the ERD maintains labor laws complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Additional, state-centric laws remain strictly enforced and employers should maintain knowledge of both sets.

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What Age Can Children Work in Montana?

The state defines a minor as any individual under 18. Citizens fitting the description must adhere to child labor laws. Youths 16 or 17 years of age enrolled in federal or state apprenticeship programs and any teen with a high school diploma or the equivalent stand exempt from traditional limitations. Furthermore, employment regulations become less strict for youth standing at age sixteen or seventeen. Excepting limited circumstances, no individual under 14 years of age may hold gainful employment in Montana.


According to the Montana Code, some paid work duties do not legally constitute employment and therefore do not carry age limitations. Non-hazardous agricultural occupations and incidental domestic services remain acceptable employment for workers of any age with written consent and supervision of parents or guardians. Casual work for a home owner, outside of the business or trade of the owner, persists as a viable option for juveniles outside of school hours. Entertainment-related occupations, such as acting, modeling, and performing music, also carry no employment restrictions for minors. Provided the work involves no power-driven machinery, lawn care occupations remain accessible for young workers, as well.

Hazardous Occupations
A number of occupations in the Treasure State stand restricted to all minors. The ERD follows federal standards for work considered exceedingly dangerous or likely to bring about 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
Certain industries remain prohibited for youths 15 and under. Restricted fields include communications, public utilities, construction, and manufacturing jobs. Excepting office and clerical work, occupations in warehouses also stand forbidden. In addition, work in meat coolers and freezers, and any preparation of meat generally constitute prohibited duties. The wrapping, labeling, pricing, and weighing of meats in other work areas remains acceptable.

Banned Agricultural Work
The farming industry carries a separate list of jobs minors may not hold. In some cases, student learners with certified and appropriate documentation may bypass the laws and perform restricted agricultural occupations as training. Otherwise, occupations considered hazardous remain inaccessible to youth workers under 16. Banned jobs include:

  • Silo Work in an Oxygen-Deficient Atmosphere
  • 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 no work permit requirements exist in Montana, certificates of age verification stand mandated under certain conditions. In hazardous occupations, employers must gain legal validation for the age of all working minors. Individuals must prove over 15 years of age to hold employment in jobs deemed dangerous for youth workers. Authorized state inspectors may lawfully enter work establishments on a regular basis to ensure child labor laws remain upheld in the workplace. Violations may result in up to six months in jail and maximum fines of $500.

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

Generally, employment hours must not conflict with school hours or impair academic performance. For children younger than 16 years of age, labor must not begin before 7:00am or continue past 7:00pm, except between June 1st and Labor Day when employment hours may extend to 9:00pm. During school weeks, juveniles 14 and 15 years of age may not work more than 3 hours per day or 18 hours in one seven-day period. 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. Individuals 16 and older do not face hour limitations in Montana.

source: Montana child labor laws

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