Legal Age to Work in Texas

Minimum Age to Work in TX

Texas (TX) 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.
[joblinks] source: Texas child labor laws

How Old Do You Have to Be to Work in Texas?

The State of Texas defines the term “child” as related to the workforce as anyone under the age of 18. In order to gain employment under the age of eighteen in the Lone Star State, job seekers must adhere to several restrictions. The minimum hiring age for legal employment consideration includes persons 14 and older. Children under the age of 14 may receive payment for services rendered if employed as part of a motion picture, theatrical performance, radio production, or television production. Most of the restrictions set forth by the state include limitations on hours young persons may work, industries and occupations young workers may assume, and types of goods, materials, or machinery individuals 14 to 17 may use or have access to while employed.

Hours Restrictions
Applicants seeking work between the ages of 14 and 17 fall under specific regulations limiting the number of hours underage persons may work in a week, between what hours in any given day, and limitations regarding work while school is in session. As a general rule, no individual worker ages 14 and 15 can work during school hours, no more than three hours in a day while school is in session, or more than 18 hours in a given week. While school is not in session, fourteen and fifteen year olds can work up to eight hours in a day and up to, but no more than, 40 hours in a given week. Work carried out by underage employees may only fall between the hours of 7:00am and 7:00pm during the school year. Between June 1 and Labor Day, hours restrictions extend to allow work from 7:00am to 9:00pm. No employer is legally allowed to work 14 and 15 year olds prior to 5:00am or after 10:00pm on a day followed by school or between midnight and 5:00am on a day where no school follows.

Hardship Exemptions
Under special circumstances, Texas minors may waive hours restrictions by appealing to the Texas Workforce Commission or TWC. The TWC then may approve special hours of employment for the hard-shipped after receiving full details of hours desired, written statements on behalf of the child and by the principal of the child’s school, a written statement from the potential employer including details of the proposed labor, and a certificate of age, also obtained through the TWC, which legally verifies age to work. Once approved, hardship exemption waivers remain valid for one year. Shorter-term exemptions may be established, if necessary or applicable. The same exemptions and regulations apply in terms of youth labor laws defining potentially hazardous or prohibited industries and positions.

Youth Labor Law General Exemptions
Under Texas Law, certain organizations may remain exempt from child labor laws applicable to workers under 18. Such businesses include organizations or commercial entities owner and/or operated by a parent or legal guardian, charitable organizations falling under state exemption laws, or activities sponsored by primary or secondary schools. The state also exempts school-supervised and/or school-administered programs with approval from TWC. State rehab programs and employment in agriculture when school is not in session qualify for exemption, as well. Workers as young as eleven may assume newspaper delivery positions barring responsibilities tied to sales.

Texas Work Permit Regulations
The Lone Star State imposes no formal requirements for underage individuals to obtain work permits. However, the state follows Federal Law and imposes various restrictions on specific types of industries and occupations workers may assume, including machinery or modes of transportation, if applicable, individuals may access.

Jobs Available to Texas Minors

In a state where agriculture remains a major export and chief commodity, Texas Law heavily regulates the types of jobs young persons may assume. Individuals between 14 and 17 must adhere to explicit criteria when entering the workforce. Jobs for 14 year olds and jobs for 15 year olds come with significantly more restrictions than jobs for 16 years old and jobs for 17 year olds. Labor laws prohibit certain industries, types of equipment, and occupations jobs for teenagers carry or feature.

Prohibited Jobs for 14 and 15 Year Olds
Due to the hazardous nature or potentially dangerous or harmful implications of certain job opportunities, Texas imposes various restrictions and prohibitions on employment available to young workers. Below sits a list of jobs for teens between the ages of fourteen and fifteen:

  • Manufacturing
  • Mining
  • Occupations involving driven machinery or automobiles
  • Public Messenger Service
  • Transportation of Goods by Motor Vehicle or Other Power-Driven Machinery
  • Demolition
  • Exposure to Radioactive Materials
  • Meat Slicers or Other Slicing Machine
  • Roofing
  • Window Washing Using Ladders or Scaffolding
  • Cooking and Baking
  • Loading/Unloading Goods from Trucks, Rail Cars or Motorized Conveyors
  • Warehouse Work (Other Than Administrative)

Accessible Jobs for 14 and 15 Year Olds in Texas
Despite numerous restrictions on industries and occupations child labor laws in Texas allow teenagers between the ages of fourteen and fifteen to assume, young workers may still find viable employment in several engaging and rewarding professions. Below sits a list of jobs you can work at 14 and jobs you can work at 15 the State of Texas permits and encourages young applicants to assume:

  • Office/Clerical
  • Retail Cashier
  • Price Marking
  • Order Assembly
  • Packing/Shelving
  • Bagging/Carrying Orders
  • Errand Work (via Bike, Foot, Public Transport)
  • Maid Service or Lawn Care (No power mowers or cutters)
  • Kitchen Work
  • Gas Station Attendant
  • Car Wash
  • Cleaning fruits and Vegetables

Where You Can Work at 16 and 17

Individuals aged sixteen and seventeen are allowed to work jobs in agricultural capacities in addition to the positions available to workers 14 to 15. The agricultural exemptions apply to positions involving the cultivation or tilling of soil, producing, growing, harvesting of crops, the collection of dairy, or raising of livestock, bees, poultry, and other domesticated, fur-bearing animals on farms. Jobs for 16 year olds and 17 year olds still carry many of the same limitations and restrictions as where you can work at fourteen and fifteen. However, sixteen- and seventeen-year-old applicants may assume apprenticeships or student learner positions under the authority of school organizations.

source: Texas labor code
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