Legal Age to Work in Oregon

Minimum Age to Work in OR

Oregon (OR) 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.
16-17No hourly restriction. Cannot 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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Oregon Child Labor Laws

Employing Minors in Oregon
The Bureau of Labor and Industries, or BOLI, establishes, in detail, the state regulations for child labor in Oregon. The minimum age for work in most occupations generally stands at fourteen. Minors in the State of Oregon no longer need to obtain work permits to secure gainful employment. Instead, employers must register for annual employment certificates. Business owners may apply for the document through the Wage and Hour Division of the BOLI. Law dictates employers must always maintain a list of all underage workers at the company, as well. Labor provisions also require employers to verify the age of each juvenile with proper documentation, such as a passport or birth certificate. In rare cases, when the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, does not pertain to the type of employment, companies may hire minors under 14 with special approval and certificates obtained through the BOLI.

Once youths begin employment, employers must follow provisions corresponding to the FLSA to provide suitable work conditions. Supervisors should ensure adequate amounts of work remain available for each shift and do not force individuals to lift amounts of weight deemed too great for a person to carry safely and effectively. In almost all cases, working minors must earn at least the hourly minimum wage for labor performed. Pay periods may extend no longer than 35 days and wages for resigning employees must disburse no later than five days after the end of employment or by the next payday if the occurrence falls sooner. Discharged workers must receive final pay by the end of the next business day after termination.

Work Hours

14 and 15 year olds in Oregon must comply with several provisions for labor times. Laws for school weeks forbid work more than 3 hours a day and 18 a week, with no labor occurring during academic session times. Non-school weeks allow 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. Work may only occur between 7:00am and 7:00pm, except between June 1 and Labor Day, when the evening deadline extends to 9:00 pm.

Once an individual turns 16, most limitations on hours cease to apply. The exception stands as the 44-hour maximum allowed for work in one week. Meal breaks of at least 30 minutes remain mandatory for minors working more than six hours at a time. 15 minute paid rest periods must stay available to individuals for each period of work up to and exceeding four hours.

Prohibited Hazardous Occupations

Restricted Work for Teens Under 18
Many occupations, such as newspaper carrying and household work in private domestic homes stand exempt from child labor laws. Conversely, other jobs remain too dangerous in the sight of the law for any person under the age of eighteen to legally hold employment at all. The following list contains many of the outlined work activities the BOLI specifies as restricted:

  • Work with Power-Driven Machinery
  • Operating Bakery Equipment
  • Logging/Sawmill
  • Work Relating to Forest Fires
  • Roofing
  • Excavation in Trenches over 4 Feet
  • Work with Explosives/Demolitions/Wrecking
  • Slaughtering/Meat Packing
  • Work with Saws/Nail Guns
  • Mining
  • Manufacturing of Brick/Tile
  • Exposure to Radioactive Substances

Prohibited Jobs for 14 and 15 Year Olds
For juveniles under the age of 16, work options bear further limitations. With less experience than older workers, younger individuals need more careful restrictions to reduce or eliminate the possibility of injury or harm on the jobsite. Jobs deemed too hazardous for fourteen and fifteen year olds include:

  • Manufacturing/Processing
  • Workshop/Warehouse Jobs
  • Work on Boats/Docks
  • Construction
  • Door-to-Door Sales
  • Pressure Washing
  • Cooking with an Open Flame/Bakery Oven
  • Work with Golf Carts
  • Lumber Loading
  • Land Clearing
  • Washing/Loading/Unloading Trucks
  • Wood Cutting/Sawing
  • Work on Ladders/Scaffolding
  • Work in Grain Elevators
  • Welding/Soldering
  • Work in Commercial Laundries
  • Surveying
  • Amusement Park Work
  • Gravel/Sand Plant Work
  • Power Mowing/Cutting/Blowing

Special Cases
Several exceptions to labor laws exist, which allow certain individuals to circumstantially work in otherwise prohibited occupations. Messenger services bear limiting provisions only between the hours of 10:00pm and 5:00am for sixteen and seventeen year olds. Some power-driven tools and machines do not stand restricted to 16 and 17 year olds, as listed on the BOLI website. Under specific conditions, motor vehicle operation stands viable to 17 year old individuals, as well. In work settings other than auto junk dealerships, water works, and lumber yards, employment carries no restrictions for minors. As long as the work takes place in front of a public business, juveniles may also labor as sandwich-board wavers. Once a minor reaches 15 years of age, lifeguard positions become available with appropriate training and certification. Generally, children may work at any age in most occupations if directly supervised and employed by a parent.

Youth camps with non-profit standing may employ minors without minimum wage stipulations or restrictions on the hours of individuals over 15. Children under 16 follow the same rules for work on non-school weeks, with the extension of start and end times to 6:00am and 10:00pm, respectively. Entertainment jobs, relating to performing, acting, modeling, or singing, stand open to all minors except babies under 15 days old. Employers in the field may forgo annual employment certificates by registering with the BOLI.

School/Training Exceptions
The Oregon BOLI allows some exemptions to labor laws for minors in cases of work deemed other than employment. Apprenticeships, student learner programs, and school-to-work options may supersede laws relating to underage workers in specific circumstances. Particularly, special cases apply related to work solely for the benefit of experience and without consistent pay or the promise of future employment. Apprentices and student workers stand excluded from certain hazardous work restrictions, as well. The BOLI outlines which specific occupations may employ minors in a learning context, including:

  • Power-driven Woodworking Machinery Operations
  • Power-driven Metalworking Machinery Operations
  • Slaughtering/Meat Processing
  • Work with Power-driven Paper Products Machinery
  • Operation of Power Saw/Shears
  • Roofing
  • Excavation

Agricultural Jobs for Minors in Oregon

Legal Requirements for Teen Farm Workers
The State of Oregon upholds separate regulations and standards for farming work. Children between the ages nine and eleven usually may work in hand-harvesting occupations with parental consent. Written permission also qualifies minors 12 and 13 years of age to work outside of school hours. While employees typically must take breaks free of all duties, in the event of urgent work demands, juveniles 16 and up may work through lunch periods, provided employers still pay the workers during the reprieves. Every four hours, supervisors must also allow children a separate and paid break of 15 minutes.

Laborers under 16 may not work more than six days a week, 10 hours on a non-school day, or three hours on a school day. Minors must not remain on the clock for more than 18 hours during a school week or 60 during a non-academic week. If over 16, workers carry no restrictions, except for a provision prohibiting employees operating power-driven machinery from working more than 25 hours a week during academic sessions or 60 hours a week otherwise. Meal periods of no less than 30 minutes stand required for minors working more than five hours.

Restricted Agricultural Occupations
Prohibited jobs in agriculture normally relate to power-driven equipment. To protect the health and well-being of child workers, individuals under 16 stand barred from dangerous duties. At any age, children of a farm owner may work on the establishment in any position. Forbidden duties for 14 and 15 year old employed in farming occupations include:

  • Work in Grain Warehouses
  • Cattle Handling
  • Well Digging
  • Work in Feed Mills with Power-driven Machinery
  • Work in Flour Mills with Power-driven Machinery

Provisions for Farming Employers
Rules for agricultural employers in Oregon run lenient. Normally, agricultural employees must earn minimum wage or better; however, exceptions apply as listed on the BOLI website. Piece-rate pay scales, for example, apply in hand-picking occupations traditionally recognized as conducting business in such manners as long as minors make the same rate as adults. In addition, farms utilizing less than 500 man days in the previous year, range production employees for livestock, and immediate family members of employers remain exempt from minimum wage regulations. Employers must possess annual work certificates only if minors shall work using or relating to power-driven machinery.

source: Oregon child labor laws
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