Legal Age to Work in New Mexico

Minimum Age to Work in NM

New Mexico (NM) Quick Reference Table
AgeSummary of Requirements
14-15Cannot work more than 18 hours per week or more than 3 hours per day when school is in session. Cannot work before 7:00am or after 7:00pm.
16-17Cannot work in any vocation which has been declared by Rule or Regulation of the Secretary of Labor to be dangerous or injurious to the life, health, morals or welfare of a minor.
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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New Mexico Child Labor Laws

How Old Do You Have to Be to Work in New Mexico?
While minors comprise a significant portion of the workforce in the United States today, the enacting of certain laws remain necessary in order to protect youth from exploitation. Though minors show readiness and desire to obtain employment, a set of standards remains in place to regulate the types of work youths in the State of New Mexico may perform and the number of hours allowed in any given allotment of time. In the case where both state and federal laws apply, employers should follow the law that entail more stringent stipulations. The minimum age for employment stands at 14 years old in the state, with limited exceptions if employed by a parent to perform in entertainment industry endeavors, function as a babysitter, perform minor chores in a private home, or to sell and deliver newspapers.

Hour Restrictions

Maximum Hours and Times of Day
No 14 or 15 year old may work more than 18 hours a week in a given school week. In a week designated as a non-school week, youths may work up to 40 hours. In addition, no minor may work more than three hours a day on a school day, and must confine work hours to after 7:00am and before 7:00pm. Evening hours extend to 9:00pm from June 1 through Labor Day of each calendar year. For non-school days, a youth may work up to eight hours a day. For minors 16 years and older, no hours or time restrictions apply.

Child Employment Entertainment Law

As of 2008, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) established a new set of rules for employing child performers in the entertainment industry. In doing so, the State of New Mexico effectively created a set of rules to protect minors working on motion pictures, theater, radio, and television productions. The rules require employers to procure a Pre-Authorization Certificate through the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, which remains valid for one year or until the specified project meets completion, whichever time period ends sooner. The employer must provide a certified educator for each group of ten or fewer children.

No youth performer may work before 5:00am or after 10:00pm on evenings proceeding a school day. Minors may not perform after 12:00am on days preceding a non-school day. All children must receive a 12-hour rest break at the conclusion of each work day before the next shift begins. Before employment in the entertainment field becomes authorized for any child six months to 15 years of age, a licensed U.S. physician must submit written approval that the child remains physically able to handle the stresses of the entertainment production. The total amount of hours allowed at the place of employment, the necessary rest periods, and how much work versus school time allowed each day varies by age grouping.

Hazardous Jobs for Sixteen and Seventeen Year Olds

In accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), no minor under the age of 18 may participate or work in certain occupations deemed hazardous to the health and well-being of youths. The minimum age also applies to all minors regardless of whether or not the parent or guardian owns the business or workplace. A list of jobs deemed hazardous to 16 and 17 years follows:

  • Explosives
  • Motor-vehicle Drivers
  • Mining
  • Logging and Sawmills as well as the Use of Circular Saws, Band Saws, and Guillotine Shears
  • Power-driven Wood Working Machinery
  • Use of Radioactive Substances
  • Use of Hoisting Apparatus
  • Metal Forming, Shearing, and Punching Machines
  • Slaughtering and Meat Packing
  • Power-driven Bakery Machines
  • Manufacturing of Brick or Tile
  • Wrecking, Demolition, Ship Breaking, and Excavation Operations
  • Roofing Occupations

Prohibited Jobs for Fourteen and Fifteen Year Olds

Minors between the ages of 14 and 15 face even tougher restrictions due to the necessity to keep youth safe from harm. In accordance with the FLSA, no minor under the age of 16 may work in the following occupations: mining, manufacturing, laundry processing or dry cleaning, public messenger services, power-driven machinery, mowers, and cutters, and the use of auto pits or racks. Any occupations in connection with transportation of person or property, warehousing and storage, communications, public utilities, and construction remain strictly prohibited. However, minors may work in certain industries, such as retail, food, or gas service establishments but face further restrictions within each industry. Such restrictions include:

  • Working in a Boiler or Engine Room
  • Repair of Machines or Equipment
  • Outside Window Washing
  • Cooking and Baking
  • Operating, Setting Up, Adjusting, Cleaning, or Repairing Power-driven Food Slicers, Grinders, Choppers, or Mixers
  • Work in Freezers or Coolers
  • Loading and Unloading of Goods

Work Permits

In New Mexico, a work permit certificate remains required at all times for the employment of children under the age of 16. Minors may access work permits through school superintendents, principals, or other designated issuing officers in the school district in which the youth attends or would attend if home schooled. Official representatives of the Labor and Industrial Division may also issue work permits. In order to successfully obtain a work permit, a minor must show proof of age at the time of issuance. For example, a birth certificate, passport, or any government-issued identification would suffice. The issuing officer retains responsibility for verifying the type of work falls in line with both state and federal regulations. No provision remains in place for children over 16 to hold a work permit. Children under the age of 18 must complete a Pre-Authorization Certificate in order to work in the entertainment industry.

source: New Mexico child labor laws
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