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5 Things To Know About Working When You Are 14 or 15 Years Old

Last updated September 30, 2020

Did you know in most states the minimum age requirement to work is 14 years old?! Even though you can legally work at 14, the Federal government has really strict laws about when and where you are allowed to work. These laws were created to make sure you are safe on the job. Here’s what you should know about working when you are under the age of 16.

1. If you find a job, all work must be performed outside of school hours

This means:

  • You can work a maximum of 3 hours on a school day, including Friday’s;
  • You can work a maximum of 18 hours per week when school is in session;
  • You can work up to 8 hours per day when school is not in session;
  • You can work up to 40 hours during a non-school week (like spring break or during the summer if you are not taking class); and
  • You can only work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on any day, except from June 1st through Labor Day, when night time work hours are extended to 9 p.m.

2. You are only allowed to do certain jobs

These certain jobs include working in retail settings, computer programming, teaching and tutoring, acting, running errands or delivering items by foot (walking), bicycle and public transportation, clean-up and yard work, working in food service by washing dishes, reheating food, cleaning equipment and limited cooking, to name a few. There are also certain jobs you CANNOT do, like working on construction sites or working in factories with hazardous machines or materials, such as meat processing plants.  

3. You can’t use motorized or power-driven tools or operate heavy machinery

From flipping burgers on the grill at your local restaurant to using power tools on a construction site, if it’s considered hazardous, you can’t touch it if you are under the age of 18. This includes power-driven mowers, cutters, trimmers, edgers, motorized trash compactors and power-driven bakery machines (like a large mixing bowl).

4. You can legally be paid less than the federal minimum wage

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour - this means, under most circumstances, you must be paid at least $7.25 an hour. However, if you are younger than 20 years old, your employer can legally pay you $4.25 per hour for the first 90 days of your employment.

5. You can work more hours if you enroll in a certified Work Experience and Career Exploration Program

Workforce Experience and Career Exploration Programs are typically created, supervised, and managed by your school. Connect with your guidance counselor to see how you can join. Once you are accepted, you can work up to 23 hours a week while school is in session. Jobs will vary by school, but you will likely work in departments at your school such as the main office, library, cafeteria, or with a sports team. 

To learn about about job opportunities for 14 and 15 year olds head to GetSchooled.com or text "JOBS" to 33-55-77 to chat with a career advisor.

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