Minimum Age to Work in WVWest Virginia (WV) Quick Reference Table
|Age||Summary of Requirements|
|14-15||Work permit required. 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. During summer hours must get 30 minute lunch after 5 hours.|
|16-17||Work permit may be required. Works hours unrestricted. Prohibited from occupations involving the serving or dispensing of alcohol while working in an establishment (other than a bar) where alcohol is served, dispensed and consumed on the premises.|
|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.|
West Virginia Child Labor Laws
West Virginia State Legislature contains clear provisions for the gainful employment of individuals less than 18 years of age. Laws exist to allow minors to enjoy profitable work opportunities and gain future experience without the threat of workplace danger. Regulations also serve to prevent labor from interfering with academic pursuits. State laws on the subject fall under the jurisdiction of the West Virginia Division of Labor.
Applicability of Age Laws
Though 14 years old stands as the general minimum age requirement to work in West Virginia, many exemptions persist. Specific occupations, such as entertainment-related positions, newspaper delivery services, and domestic duties within the home of an employer remain excused from restriction in The Mountain State. Agricultural work also stands accessible for children 13 and under, as long as the work does not involve hazardous conditions. In addition, minors of any age may work in any non-dangerous job for a business owned solely by the parent or guardian of the child.
What Hours Can a Minor Work in West Virginia?
Labor laws limit the number of hours and times of the day wherein juveniles under sixteen years of age may work. Exemptions may apply; however, on school weeks, minors must not work more than three hours a day or 18 hours in one seven-day period. During non-academic weeks, children may not labor more than 40 hours or over eight hours in a day. Additionally, a 30-minute lunch break must occur after five continuous hours of labor. Work also stands restricted during school hours, before 7:00am, and after 7:00pm. The evening deadline lengthens to 9:00pm between June 1st and Labor Day.
Children under 16 in West Virginia must obtain official work permits to begin labor. School superintendents in the county where employment occurs issue the documents or assign an individual to dispense the certificates on the behalf of the official. Permits need to bear signatures of the minor, school principal, and employer as well as written consent from the parent or guardian of the teen. Work certificates also carry a brief description of job duties. The State Commissioner of Labor may revoke the permit if issuance stands deemed as improper. In addition, certificates for verification of age remain available for minors 16 years of age and over.
The commissioner of the Division of Labor stands authorized to issue a supervision permit, which provides exemption for hazardous occupations, work permits, and hour limitations. To become eligible for the option, employers must not fall under federal child labor law provisions. Responsible supervision of working minors remains required at all times. Employment through supervision permits must promote the best interests of the child in the eyes of the commissioner.
Blanket Work Permits
Employers may forgo traditional employment certificates and apply for blanket work permits under certain conditions. To qualify, the work must involve 25 or more minors laboring over a period of no more than 90 days. The employer must write a letter stating familiarity with child labor laws and promising compliance. In addition, a list of all working teens and related age, birthdate, and description of job duties must remain on file for the entire duration of labor. Permits expire after work concludes.
The commissioner of the Division of Labor regulates which occupations must bar juveniles from employment. Forbidden jobs include occupations with duties likely to put minors at considerable risk of harm, serious injury, or death. Hiring a teen worker for a hazardous position constitutes a crime and carries corresponding legal penalties. Dangerous jobs restricted for minors include:
- Driving Motor Vehicles
- Exposure to Radioactive Substances
- Work with Explosives
- Work with Power-driven Machinery
- Slaughtering/Meat Packing/Processing
- Manufacturing of Brick/Tile
- Work in Establishments Serving Alcoholic Beverages
Under particular circumstances, 16 and 17 year olds may gain employment as firefighters. Specialized training and parental consent stand required to allow the minors to obtain a firefighting job. Juveniles may not operate firefighting vehicles, enter a burning building or a structure deemed likely to explode or collapse, with the exception of action under the immediate and direct supervision of a certified fire line officer. Generally, no teenager may otherwise gain employment in a hazardous occupation in West Virginia.