Minnesota Child Labor Law

Last update: June 10, 2023

Minimum Hiring Age in Minnesota

What is the minimum age to be employed in Minnesota? The legal age to work in Minnesota is 14, 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

  • Minors are prohibited from working in the following capacities:
    • Serving liquor.
    • Working with hazardous materials such as explosives.
    • Operating power-driven machinery, including motor vehicles.
    • On or about construction sites.

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 Minnesota:

Beer Wine Spirits
Serve 18 18 18
Bartend 18 18 18

Work Hours

  • 14: Minors under 16 may not work:
    • Before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m. with the exception of a newspaper carrier.
    • For more than 40 hours a week or more than eight hours per 24-hour period, except in agricultural operations.
    • During school hours on school days without an employment certificate issued by the appropriate school officials.
  • 16: Minors over 16 but under 18 may not work:
    • Later than 11 p.m. on evenings before school days or before 5 a.m. on school days. With written permission from a parent or guardian, these hours may be expanded to 11:30 p.m. and 4:30 a.m

Maximum daily and weekly hours and days per week for minors ages 14 and 15:

Nightwork prohibited for minors ages 14 and 15:
9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

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

Nightwork prohibited for ages 16 and 17:
11 p.m. to 5 a.m. before school day

11:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. with written parental permission

Work Permit

Work permit is required for minors under 18 years old. https://www.dli.mn.gov/business/employment-practices/child-labor-exemptions Age certificates are not required. However, employers of any minor must obtain and keep on record proof of the child's age.

Minimum Wages

The minimum wages in Minnesota is $8.63. 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 Minnesota