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This Minnesota Human Resources Manual is offered to you for free. Find state specific laws and regulations below.

Child labor — Minnesota

Minimum ages for employment

Both federal and state laws regulate the employment of minors, that is, those under 18 years of age. Employers must adhere to the stricter of the two.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets age 14 as the minimum age for most non-agricultural work. However, at any age, the FLSA provides that minors younger than 14 may:

  • deliver newspapers
  • perform in radio, television, movie or theatrical productions
  • work in businesses owned by their parents (except in mining, manufacturing or hazardous jobs)
  • babysit.  

The Minnesota Child Labor Standards Act also uses an age 14 cutoff and provides that minors younger than 14 years of age may not be employed or permitted to work in any occupation, except children employed as a newspaper carrier (if at least age 11), in agriculture (if at least age 12 and with parent or guardian consent), as an actor or model or as a youth athletic program referee (if at least age 11 and with parent or guardian consent). In Minnesota, children younger than the age of 16 cannot work before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless they are employed as a newspaper carrier. Children also cannot work more than 40 hours per week or more than eight hours per day. After they reach the age of 16, children cannot work beyond 11 p.m. on nights before school days or before 5 a.m. on school days. 

Minnesota employers are completely prohibited from employing children to:

  • perform work in any agriculture operation declared by the DOL Secretary to be particularly hazardous for employment of children younger than 16 years old
  • operate or assist in the operation of machinery
  • operate laundry, rug cleaning or dry-cleaning equipment
  • operate drill presses, milling machines, grinders, and other portable power-driven machinery
  • operate meat slicers, textile-making machines or bakery machinery
  • oil, clean or maintain any power-driven machinery
  • use pits, racks or lifting apparatus at service stations or in mounting tires or rimes
  • work in a car wash to attach or detach cars to or from mechanized conveyor lines
  • welding
  • work in a manufacturing or commercial warehouse or processing plant
  • work in or around an airport landing strip and taxi
  • work as an outside helper on a motor vehicle
  • lift, carry or care for patients in hospitals or nursing homes
  • work in walk-in meat freezers or coolers, except for occasional entrance.

Exceptions to these prohibited-work limitation include:

  • a minor employed by a business solely owned and daily supervised by one or both parents
  • a minor employed at tasks away from or outside of the area of hazardous operations, equipment or materials.

A Minnesota employer that employs a minor is required to maintain proof of a minor’s age as part of the employer’s payroll records. Acceptable proof of age can be provided through one of the following mechanisms:

  • a copy of a birth certificate
  • a copy of a driver’s license or permit
  • an age certificate issued by a school
  • an I-9 form.

An employer that fails to comply with the requirements of the Minnesota Child Labor Standards Act can be subject to monetary penalties ranging from $250 to $5,000 per violation.

Restrictions on the hours a minor can work

Federal law does not limit the hours that anyone age 16 or older may work, but the FLSA limits the employment of 14- and 15-year-olds to:

  • non-school hours
  • three hours in a school day
  • 18 hours in a school week
  • eight hours on a non-school day
  • 40 hours on a non-school week
  • hours between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. (except from June 1 through Labor Day, when evening hours are extended to 9:00 p.m.)

Jobs too hazardous for minors

Federal law sets certain safety standards and restrictions for young workers. Examples include:

  • driving a motor vehicle
  • using certain kinds of power driver machines
  • roofing or excavating work
  • exposure to radioactive substances.

A complete federal list of prohibited jobs and occupations can be accessed at:

Posting requirements

Child Labor provisions are included in the poster that federal law mandates for all employers which can be accessed at: