Legal Age to Work in Ohio

Minimum Age to Work in OH

Ohio (OH) Quick Reference Table
AgeSummary of Requirements
14-15Must have workers permit. Cannot work for more than 5 hours without at least a 30 minute break. Cannot 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.
16-17Must have workers permit. Cannot 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.

Ohio Child Labor Laws

How Old Do You Have to be to Work in Ohio?
In Ohio, individuals under the age of 18 fall under the legal classification of “minor”. Applicable to child labor laws, the term applies to young persons ages 14 to 17 looking to assume positions of employment in the Buckeye State. Applicants who fall under the category of minor must adhere to certain and specific restrictions and regulations created by state lawmakers in order to protect the rights of employers and workers alike. Restrictions cover areas of employment such as types of jobs minors can legally assume, legal age to work certain positions, and how many hours minors may work.

Work Permits in Ohio

Minors working in the State of Ohio must obtain special permits for employment. The regulation may also apply to jobs for 13 year olds and jobs for 12 year olds, depending on the line of work. For example, legislation allows for individuals under the age of 14 to assume babysitting or housesitting jobs, work for businesses owned by parents or legal guardians, assume paper routes for delivery purposes only, or work capacity of performance, including radio, television, motion picture, or theatre.

Filling out an Ohio Work Permit
Ohio provides a downloadable PDF of the pre-application needed to obtain a working permit for a minor. The document requires the signature of a parent or legal guardian in addition to general information regarding the proposed job. The potential employer must also sign off on the form, which then needs turned into the local school superintendent’s office for processing.

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

Labor laws in the State of Ohio restrict and limit the total number of hours employers may work minors in a given day and in a given week. The restrictions also apply to the specific hours of the day minors may work. 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 with school out of session. Out of session also includes holidays lasting longer than five consecutive school days. Jobs for fourteen and fifteen year olds also come with restrictions limiting minors to no more than three hours of work during any school day, more than 18 hours per week during the school year, more than eight hours a day when school is not in session, or more than 40 hours in a week with school in recess. 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 adhere to special limitations on hours, as well. The same restrictions applied to 14 and 15 year olds apply to sixteen and seventeen year olds. However, in addition to the limitations imposed on the fourteen to fifteen age group, jobs for16 and 17 year olds may not feature hours starting before 7:00am on school days. The restrictions also limit night shifts beginning before 8:00pm. No schedule can begin a workday before 6:00am if the employee worked before 8:00pm the previous night. Employers also may not create schedules with hours stretching beyond 11:00pm on school nights.

Prohibited Occupations

The minimum age to work jobs in Ohio restricts individuals from certain positions in specific fields. Jobs for teenagers carry several limitations, including specific lines of work made available to teens according to child labor laws. 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 for fourteen and fifteen year olds include several other limitations on the types of occupations the young workers may assume. In addition to the general list of prohibited occupations, Ohio State Law bars job seekers aged 14 and 15 years from working any manufacturing, mining, processing, or public messenger positions. Jobs for 14 and 15 year olds may also not include use of freezers or large, walk-in coolers as well as preparation of meat for consumption in any fashion. Other restricted job opportunities for fourteen and fifteen year olds include transportation, communications, public utilities, boiler room maintenance, machinery repair, window washing with use of scaffolding, baking and/or cooking for public consumption, operating power food slicers or other food processing machines, unloading and loading trucks for commercial or industrial shipment, any warehouse work aside from clerical tasks, and work involving automobiles, including both operation and servicing.

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. Workers in occupations like server, host/hostess, bartender, cashier, and sales associate in establishments selling or distributing alcohol for consumption must stand at least 18. At 21, all legal restrictions are lifted concerning jobs involving alcohol sales.

Record Keeping

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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