Legal Age to Work in West Virginia

Minimum Age to Work in WV

West Virginia (WV) Quick Reference Table

Age Summary of Requirements
14-15 Must have a work permit and maintain a maximum of 3 daily or 18 weekly hours during the school year. May work between the hours of 7:00am and 7:00pm.
16-17 Must have a work permit, and are unable to work in bars.
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.

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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.

Work Permits

Children under 16 in West Virginia must obtain official work permits to begin labor. School principals and guidance counselors provide these youths with the applications for their employment certificates throughout the semester. Once school is out, however, the teen must figure out how to get a work permit in the summer before they can get a job during their vacation.

  • Do you need a work permit during summer?

In West Virginia, minors aged 14 and 15 need a work permit before they can start work. Employment papers are unnecessary for older teens, though they do require an Age Certificate if they plan on working as firefighters.

  • Where can I get a work permit besides school?

The West Virginia Division of Labor offers applications for employment certificates on their website.

  • How do I get a work permit during summer?

    • After receiving a job offer, minors may download and print the appropriate permit applications from the state website.
    • The young applicant, their soon-to-be boss and their parent or guardian must complete their respective sections of the work forms.
    • Once the paperwork is complete, the teen must submit it to the Labor Department along with proof of their legal age.
    • An official will review and approve the application before presenting the underage worker with a work permit.

Supervision Permits
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.

Hazardous Occupations

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
  • Mining
  • Work with Power-driven Machinery
  • Slaughtering/Meat Packing/Processing
  • Roofing
  • Excavation
  • Demolition/Wrecking
  • 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.

source: West Virginia child labor laws


  • Tresa says:

    Can a 17 year old work without supervision?

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