Colorado Child Labor Law

Last update: June 10, 2023

Minimum Hiring Age in Colorado

What is the minimum age to be employed in Colorado? The legal age to work in Colorado is 9, but governed by state and federal child labor laws and varies based on:

  • The type of work (e.g., agricultural or non-agricultural)
  • Whether the job is considered hazardous or has prohibited duties.
  • Whether school is in session.
  • The legal status of the minor (e.g., emancipated minors).
  • Whether the job is exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

According to Federal Law (FLSA), a minor must be at least 14 years old to work for an employer (e.g. retail stores, food service establishments and gasoline service stations), with an exception for minors working for a parent or legal guardian who owns the business. This is the reason why you will never see job postings for children under the age of 14.

Age Restrictions

  • 9: Minimum age to: Delivery of handbills and advertising; Shoe shining; Gardening and care of lawns involving no power-driven lawn equipment; Cleaning of walks involving no power-driven snow-removal equipment; Casual work usual to the home of the employer and not specifically prohibited; Caddying on golf courses; Occupations similar to the above.
  • 12: Minimum age to: Sale and delivery of periodicals; Door-to-door selling and delivery of merchandise; Baby-sitting; Gardening and care of lawns, and cleaning of walks; contact the Division regarding use of power-driven equipment; Non-hazardous agricultural work; Occupations similar to the above.
  • 14: Minimum age to: on-hazardous occupations in manufacturing; Public messenger service and errands by foot, bicycle and public transportation; Operation of automatic enclosed freight and passenger elevators.; Janitorial and custodial service; Office work and clerical work; Warehousing and storage, including unloading and loading of vehicles; Non-hazardous construction and non-hazardous repair work; Occupations in retail food service; Certain gasoline service occupations; Occupations in retail stores; Occupations in restaurants, hotels, motels, or other public accommodations; Occupations related to parks or recreation; Occupations similar to the above.
  • 16: Minimum age to: The occupations listed above and the operation of a motor vehicle if the minor is licensed to operate the motor vehicle for such use pursuant.
  • 18: Minimum age to: Sell, or serve alcoholic beverages if supervised by someone 21 years of age or older.
  • 21: Minimum age to: Sell, or server alcoholic beverages (unrestricted).

Minimum age to drive motor vehicles (cars and small trucks) on public roads as part of jobs is basically 17 years old, with certain requirements.

Minimum age to serve and bartend alcohol in Colorado:


Work Hours

  • General Restriction: No employer shall be permitted to work a minor more than forty hours in a week or more than eight hours in any twenty-four-hour period.
  • Schoolday Restriction: On school days, during school hours, no minor under the age of sixteen shall be permitted employment except as provided by a school release permit. After school hours no minor under the age of sixteen shall be permitted to work in excess of six hours unless the next day is not a school day.
  • Nighttime Restriction: Except for babysitters, no minor under the age of sixteen shall be permitted to work between the hours of 9.30 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless the next day is not a school day. An exception to this rule is a minor employed as an actor, model, or performer.

Maximum daily and weekly hours and days per week for minors ages 14 and 15:
8-40 school day: 6

Nightwork prohibited for minors ages 14 and 15:
9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. before school day

Maximum daily and weekly hours and days per week for ages 16 and 17:

Nightwork prohibited for ages 16 and 17:
Not regulated

Work Permit

Work permits are not required by Colorado law. Upon request of a minor, an age certificate shall be issued by or under the authority of the school superintendent of the district or county in which the applicant resides.

Minimum Wages

The minimum wages in Colorado is $13.65. FLSA allow employers to pay a youth minimum wage of not less than $4.25 an hour to employees who are under 20 years of age during the first 90 consecutive calendar days after initial employment.


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