New Mexico Child Labor Law

Last update: June 10, 2023

Minimum Hiring Age in New Mexico

What is the minimum age to be employed in New Mexico? The legal age to work in New Mexico 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

State and federal laws have set 14 as the minimum age for employment. However, at any age, youth 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); and perform babysitting or perform minor chores around private home.

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 New Mexico:

Beer Wine Spirits
Serve 18 18 18
Bartend 21 21 21

Work Hours

Hours worked by 14- and 15-year-olds are limited to:

  • Non-school hours;
  • 3 hours in a school day;
  • 18 hours in a school week;
  • 8 hours on a non-school day;
  • 40 hours on a non-school week; and
  • Hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (except from June 1 through Labor Day, when evening hours are extended to 9 p.m.)

Maximum daily and weekly hours and days per week for minors ages 14 and 15:
8-40 School day/week: 3-18 (Maximum hours/days when school is not in session:

8 hours daily / 50 hours weekly/ 6 days weekly.

Workers 16 and up may work up to 50 hours in one week and up to 10 hours a day only between the last day of school and Labor Day.

Maximum hours/days when school is in session:

3 hours daily/ 18 hours weekly)

Nightwork prohibited for minors ages 14 and 15:
7 p.m. (9 p.m. outside of the calendar school year) 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:
Not regulated

Work Permit

Work permit is required for minors 14-17. https://www.dws.state.nm.us/Portals/0/DM/LaborRelations/Work%20Permit%20Certificate%202021%20Form.pdf Age certificate might be required for minors 16 and 17

Minimum Wages

The minimum wages in New Mexico is $12.00. 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 New Mexico

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