Legal Age to Work in New Jersey

Minimum Age to Work in NJ

New Jersey (NJ) Quick Reference Table
AgeSummary of Requirements
14-15Can work 3 hours per day, 18 hours per week when school is in session. Cannot work before 7:00am or after 7:00pm.
16-17Cannot work before 6:00am or after 11:00pm.
18-20Must be 18 to work in establishments that sell or serve alcohol for consumption
21Able to serve alcohol for consumption. No restrictions.

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How Old Do You Have to Be to Work in New Jersey?

Any person under 18 years of age, the generally accepted age of legal adulthood, exists as a minor in the State of New Jersey. Minors may hold jobs; however, age remains a factor in the type of jobs deemed safe and acceptable for an underage individual to obtain. Eleven and twelve year olds, for example, maintain the option of working certain low-risk occupations. The jobs require special permits to remain on file for the duration of employment or until the employee turns 15. Potential workers as young as 12 years old may seek employment in agriculture. Persons as young as eleven may obtain paper routes. Individuals of any age may work in the theater, or similarly operated, performance-based occupations as long as special regulations remain continually followed. Other jobs a twelve year old may hold in the Garden State, with parent or guardian approval, include nursery work, the raising of livestock and other animals, gardening, and forestry.

Restrictions on Work Hours

In addition to the special permits, employers and minors should remain aware of the strict regulations regarding working hours. Employees who stand at 14 or 15 years of age may not work more than three hours a day or more than 18 hours in a given week. Individuals who fall into the fourteen to fifteen age bracket may also not work before 7:00 am or after 7:00 pm. During school recesses, minors 14 or 15 years of age may work up to eight hours a day, 40 hours a week. Sixteen and seventeen year olds may work up to eight hours a day, 40 hours a week even when school stands in session but remain restricted to working between the hours of 6:00 am and 11:00 pm. Additionally, 16 and 17 year olds may work as late as 3:00 am during school vacation as long as the employer obtains written permission from a parent or guardian to keep on file. All minors remain restricted from working more than six consecutive days, and may not work more than five hours without at least a 30 minute break.

Individuals 12 years of age and younger and working in agriculture, newspaper, and theater must also adhere to special hours restrictions. Minors working in agriculture may not work more than six days a week or over 10 hours a day. Newspaper routes may not require minors under the age of 16 to work before 7:00 am or after 7:00 pm, work more than three hours on a school day, work more than 18 hours in a given week, or work all seven days of the week. However, sixteen and seventeen year olds with a newspaper route may adhere to standard regulation of hours. Theater performers under the age of 18 may not appear in more than two productions a day, no more than eight shows a week, may not work or rehearse for more than five hours a day or 24 hours a week, and remain limited to work between the hours of 7:00 am and 11:30 pm.

New Jersey Work Permits

Every minor in the State of New Jersey stands required to obtain an employment certificate before the individual may legally work. The necessary forms remain available through the Department of Education, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, or at a local school district office. Individuals must acquire physicals, which schools provide free of cost. Minors should provide official documentation to verify ages and proof of parental consent to work. Once minors and employers complete the designated sections of the form, the schools must officially approve working permits after confirming the proposed work does not interfere with the health or schooling of the minor.

Prohibited Occupations

Even with a proper work permit, some occupations remain too hazardous for minors to perform. For a comprehensive list, or to inquire about specific concerns, citizens of New Jersey may contact the Division of Wage and Hour Compliance. Generally, minors cannot handle paint, lead, other dangerous chemicals or toxins, or explosives. The operation of power tools and heavy machinery also stands prohibited. Individuals under the age of 18 should not work in an establishment where alcohol is sold for consumption on the premises, where the minor would be paid for indecent exposure, in construction, meat packaging and slaughtering, or in mines, quarries, and the like.

source: New Jersey child labor laws source: New Jersey Child Labor Hours Restrictions
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