Legal Age to Work in Tennessee

Minimum Age to Work in TN

Tennessee (TN) 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 during hours when you are required to attend school. Cannot work between the hours of 10:00pm and 6:00am.
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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Tennessee Child Labor Laws

The State of Tennessee prohibits minors under the age of 14 from pursuing gainful employment and enforces various other restrictions for individuals under the age of 18. The Child Labor Act exists to prevent employment from interfering with the education or health and well-being of a minor. While Tennessee does not require youths to obtain working permits or the like in order to labor for monetary gain, employers must verify the age of minors before hire. Acceptable, legal documents which corroborate age include birth certificates, driver licenses, state issued IDs, or copies of passports. Employed individuals under the age of eighteen remain entitled to 30-minute rests or meal breaks if scheduled to work shifts of six hours or more.

Employer Information

Part of enforcing the Child Labor Act includes offering employers tools to ensure working minors remain safe at all times. All employers of youths must adhere to several guidelines to remain exempt from punishment. The provisions of the Child Labor Act, for example, should stand posted at the work site. Employers must maintain a file for each employed minor, which should be kept on-site at all times. The file should include employee applications, copies of presented proofs of age, accurate and up-to-date daily time records, and any records qualifying youths for exemptions. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development reserves the right, through the laws of Tennessee, to inspect the premises where minors will or may work. An additional guideline, which applies only to 16 and 17 year old minors who receive homeschool educations, specifies the file of the minor must include proper documentation which confirms enrollment and authorization to work.

Hour Restrictions

How Many Hours Can 14 and 15 Year Olds Work
Since the goals of Tennessee child labor laws prohibit any kind of employment from interfering with school work, hours restrictions for minors persists as necessary. Youths aged fourteen and fifteen may not work during any school hours. 14 and 15 year olds may not work more than three hours on any school day and cannot work more than 18 hours over the course of a week. Additionally, minors face restrictions on the hours during which employed individuals may work. In the State of Tennessee, fourteen and fifteen year olds should never work before 7:00am or after 7:00pm.

During summer vacation and other school recesses, minors may work more often. 14 and 15 year old youths may work up to eight hours a day; however, employers should not schedule minors for more than 40 hours a week. Citizens of Tennessee should note the hours which youths remain allowed to work does not change during non-school sessions.

How Many Hours Can 16 and 17 Year Olds Work
Though minors standing at the ages of sixteen or seventeen remain prohibited from working during class sessions, very few additional hour restrictions apply. During days when school holds class the next morning, 16 and 17 year olds may work no later than 10:00pm. Conversely, if the employer possesses a signed Parental Consent Form, only considered valid if the form contains the signature of a legal parent or guardian, the curfew may extend to 12:00am. However, the form stipulates an employer may only keep employees aged sixteen or seventeen till midnight for three days over the course of a given work week.

Prohibited Occupations

Several occupations remain too dangerous for minors to perform. Whether a job risks the safety or integrity of the youth, the Child Labor Act prohibits compromising individuals under the age of eighteen in any way. The list of professions deemed too risky for youths includes:

  • Occupations Involving Explosives
  • Driving Motor Vehicles
  • Mining Coal or Other Elements
  • Logging and Mill Jobs
  • Operation of Power-Driven Machinery
  • Exposure to Radioactive Substances
  • Slaughter/Meat Packing
  • Manufacturing
  • Operation of Saws/Shears
  • Wrecking/Demolition
  • Roofing
  • Sale of Alcoholic Beverages
  • Posing/Modeling for Obscene Products
  • Occupations Involving Youth Peddling
source: Tennessee child labor laws
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