Virginia Child Labor Law

Last update: June 10, 2023

Minimum Hiring Age in Virginia

What is the minimum age to be employed in Virginia? The legal age to work in Virginia is 12, 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

Anyone, at any age, is allowed to (Code of Virginia § 40.1-79.01):

  • work at home for their parents doing domestic jobs such as cleaning house or taking out the trash;
  • work on their parents’ farm, garden, or orchard doing such things as planting and feeding animals;
  • work in a business owned by their parents exceptmanufacturing, mining, or other dangerous jobs;
  • work at another person’s house doing housecleaning or babysitting, with their parents’ permission; and
  • participate with a volunteer rescue squad.

If you are 12 or older, you are allowed, with your parents’ permission, to:

  • work on any farm, garden, or orchard belonging to someone else;
  • deliver newspapers;
  • referee at a sporting event for a charitable or government organization; and
  • if between 12 and 18, work as a page or clerk for the Virginia General Assembly.

If you are 14 or 15 and have an employment certificate, you are allowed to work:

  • in any office job;
  • in hospitals and nursing homes doing kitchen duties and room and hallway cleaning;
  • as a cashier for a dry cleaners as long as no processing is done on the premises;
  • in food service cleaning dishes, waiting on tables (but not serving alcoholic beverages), and as a cashier or kitchen helper (with restrictions);
  • at bowling alleys;
  • at a swimming pool as gatekeeper or in concessions; and
  • on the beach handling beach equipment.

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 Virginia:

Beer Wine Spirits
Serve 18 18 18
Bartend 21 21 21

Work Hours

14- and 15-year-old may not work:

  • more than three hours a day on a school day
  • more than 18 hours a week in a school week
  • more than eight hours a day on a non-school day
  • more than 40 hours a week in a non-school week
  • before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. (except between June 1 and Labor Day, when they may work as late as 9 p.m.)
  • during school hours unless enrolled in a school work-training program

Maximum daily and weekly hours and days per week for minors ages 14 and 15:
8-40-6, non-school period. 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. June 1 through Labor Day) 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

14- and 15-year-olds must have an employment certificate. Age certificates serve as proof of age. They are typically issued to workers age 16 and older.

Minimum Wages

The minimum wages in Virginia is $10.50. 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 Virginia

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