Illinois Child Labor Law

Last update: June 10, 2023

Minimum Hiring Age in Illinois

What is the minimum age to be employed in Illinois? The legal age to work in Illinois is 10, 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

No minor under 16 years of age, except minors 14 or 15 years of age who are participating in federally funded work experience career education programs under the direction of the State Board of Education, at any time shall be employed, permitted or allowed to work in any gainful occupation in connection with any theater, concert hall or place of amusement, or any mercantile institution, store, office, hotel, laundry, manufacturing establishment, mill, cannery, factory or workshop, restaurant, lunchroom, beauty parlor, barber shop, bakery, or coal, brick or lumber yard, or in any type of construction work within this StateMinors between 14 and 16 years of age may be employed, permitted, or allowed to work outside school hours and during school vacations but not in dangerous or hazardous factory work or in any occupation otherwise prohibited by law or by order or regulation made in pursuance of law.No minor under 12 years of age, except members of the farmer's own family who live with the farmer at his principal place of residence, at any time shall be employed, permitted or allowed to work in any gainful occupation in connection with agriculture, except that any minor of 10 years of age or more may be permitted to work in a gainful occupation in connection with agriculture during school vacations or outside of school hours.

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 Illinois:


Work Hours

A 14 or 15 year old minor may NOT work:

  • before 7 a.m.
  • after 7 p.m. between Labor Day and June 1.
  • after 9 p.m. June 1 through Labor Day.
  • more than 8 hours when combining school and work hours.
  • more than 24 hours during school weeks.
  • more than 48 hours during non-school weeks.
  • more than six days per week.

Maximum daily and weekly hours and days per week for minors ages 14 and 15:
8-48-6 school day/week: 3 (8 Combined hours of work and school ) - 24.

More hours are permitted when school is in session less than 5 days.

Minors age 14 or older, employed in recreational or educational activities by a park district or municipal parks and recreation department may work up to 3 hours per school day twice a week until 9 p.m., while school is in session, if the number of hours worked does not exceed 24 a week.

Work is permitted until 10 p.m. during summer vacation.

Nightwork prohibited for minors ages 14 and 15:
7 p.m. (9 p.m. June 1 through Labor Day) to 7 a.m.

Minors under age 18 enrolled in school may work up to 50 hours during any week that school is in session less than 3 days or during the first or last week of the school calendar, regardless of how many days school is in session for the week.

Maximum daily and weekly hours and days per week for ages 16 and 17:
Not regulated

Nightwork prohibited for ages 16 and 17:
Not regulated

Work Permit

Work permits or employment certificates must be obtained from your local school for all minors 14 and 15 years of age before beginning work. Age certificate is not required under State law, but the law directs an administrative agency to issue the certificate on request for ages 16-20

Minimum Wages

The minimum wages in Illinois is $13. 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.

Next reading: Find jobs for teens in Illinois