Legal Age to Work in Ohio

Minimum Age to Work in OH

Ohio (OH) Quick Reference Table

Age Summary of Requirements
14-15 Must have workers permit, work up to three hours a day and 18 hours a week during the school year, and receive a 30 minute break for every 5 hours of work. May only work between 7:00am and 7:00pm.
16-17 Must have workers permit and may only work between 6:00am and 11:00pm.
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.

Ohio Child Labor Laws

How Old Do You Have to be to Work in Ohio?
In Ohio, child labor laws, apply to young persons ages 14 to 17 looking to assume positions of employment. All minors must adhere to these regulations include restrictions on the types of jobs minors can legally have, the state’s minimum working age and the amount of daily and weekly hours they may work. These guidelines exist to protect the rights of employers and workers alike.

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Work Permits in Ohio

In many cases, Buckeye State minors must obtain special permits for employment. While domestic duties, street trades, working for one’s parents and performance art jobs are available to kids and pre-teens, older employees can find employment certificate applications in their school guidance counselor’s office. For job seeking minors in Ohio, the following section explains how to get a work permit in the summer.

  • Do you need a work permit during summer?

At the age of 14, minors may obtain a work permit and join the workforce. Once they reach 16, minors are exempt from the work permit requirement during the summer.

  • Where can I get a work permit besides school?

The Ohio Department of Commerce webpage has forms available for minors looking for work certificates.

  • How do I get a work permit during summer?

    • Print out the Pre-Application form and the Physician’s Approval form
    • Minors, their parents and their potential employer must fill out and sign the application
    • Depending on the industry the teen is hoping to enter, they will need their doctor to perform a physical and sign the approval form
    • Submit completed paperwork and proof of age (i.e. birth certificate, state ID, etc.) to the local board of education office.
    • Based on the student’s grades, attendance and class conduct, the issuing officer will approve the form and give the minor their permit.

How My Hours Can a 14 or 15 Year Old Work?

Labor laws in the State of Ohio limit the total number of hours employees may work both daily and weekly. They also affect the specific time frames in which these teens can perform their tasks.Underage individuals with permits may only work between 7:00am and 9:00pm with school in session and only between the hours of 7:00am and 7:00pm otherwise. They have a maximum of 3 daily and 18 weekly work hours available to them during the school year, and eight hours a day and 40 hours a week when school is out. The only exceptions to the restrictions of hours pertain to vocational or work-study programs or other education-based programs approved by the Ohio State Board of Education.

Additional Hours Restrictions
Workers between the ages of 16 and 17 must begin their work day at or after 7:00am on school days, and must finish all their tasks by 11:00pm on school nights. The restrictions also prevent these teens from working before 6:00am if their shift on the previous night started before 8:00pm.

Prohibited Occupations

Ohio child labor laws restricts individuals from certain positions in specific fields. Below sits a list of prohibited occupations for minors ages 14 to 17:

  • Slaughtering/Meat Packing
  • Demolition
  • Bakery Jobs Utilizing Power-Driven Machines
  • Manufacturing of Brick, Cement, or Kindred Materials
  • Chemical Manufacturing
  • Manufacturing or Storage of Explosives
  • Jobs Involving Radioactive Substances/Materials
  • Operating Cranes or other Power-Driven Hoisting Machines
  • Power-Driven Paper Processing Machines
  • Excavations
  • Metal-Forming/Shearing Jobs
  • Use of Power-Driven Saws
  • Use of Power-Driven Woodworking Machines
  • (Coal) Mining
  • Logging and Sawmilling
  • Operating Motor Vehicles
  • Maritime Positions or Offshore Jobs
  • Railroad Jobs
  • Roofing

Prohibited Jobs for 14 and 15 year olds
Child labor laws also limit 14 and 15 year olds from working any of the following job types:

  • Manufacturing
  • Mining
  • Processing
  • Public messenger positions
  • Jobs in freezers or walk-in coolers
  • Preparation of meat for consumption
  • Transportation
  • Communications
  • Public utilities
  • Boiler room maintenance
  • Machinery repair
  • Window washing with scaffolding
  • Baking/cooking for public consumption
  • Operating power slicers or other food processing machines
  • Loading and unloading trucks
  • Non-clerical warehouse work
  • Operating and serviceing automobiles


Jobs Involving Alcohol
Like most states, Ohio places restrictions on the age of individuals looking to assume work where the sale and/or consumption of alcohol remains present or serves as an integral part of operations. In Ohio, any individual working as a server, host/hostess, bartender, cashier, or sales associate in establishments selling or distributing alcohol for consumption must stand at least 18. They are unable to perform tasks related to dispensing or serving alcohol until they are 21

Record Keeping

Ohio Legislators require employers to maintain detailed records of minors working at every establishment. Each employer must post a list of all underage workers on staff in plain view at all times. Employers also remain accountable and responsible for keeping track of hours worked by minors on a daily and weekly basis. The time sheets should focus solely on underage employees and denote hours worked, breaks taken, and total hours worked per week. Records should show exact work stoppage/start times. Once an underage employee becomes of age or leaves an establishment, state law requires employers to maintain the records on file for at least two years.

source: Ohio child labor laws
source: State of Ohio Minor Labor Laws

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