Wisconsin Child Labor Law

Minimum Hiring Age in Wisconsin

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

12 years of age

  • Agriculture
  • Street trades (delivering newspapers, selling products door-to-door or on the street)
  • Work under direct supervision of minor's parent or guardian in connection with parent's or guardian's business, trade, or profession if minor would otherwise be permitted to work in the same job at age 14
  • Caddies on golf courses (non-motorized carts)
  • Domestic work in and around the home of the employer if not in connection with or part of a trade or business
  • Sideline officials at high school football games
  • Ball monitors at high school football games or practices (as young as 11 permitted)
  • Official for athletic events sponsored by private, nonprofit organization in which the minor would be eligible to participate or in which the participates are the same age or younger than the minor
  • Work in school lunch programs for the school attended by the minor

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 Wisconsin:

Beer Wine Spirits
Serve 18 18 18
Bartend 18 18 18

Work Hours

The Wisconsin Employment of Minors regulation says that 14- and 15-year-olds may work the following hours from the day after Labor Day through May 31:

    Three hours per day on school days and 18 hours per week on school weeks Eight hours per day on non-school days and 40 hours per week on non-school weeks From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
From June 1 through Labor Day, the hours are:
    Three hours per day on school days and 18 hours per week on school weeks Eight hours per day on non-school days and 40 hours per week on non-school weeks From 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For 16 and 17-year-old minors, the hours limit is:
  • five hours per school day (exception: on the last school day of the calendar week and on non-school days, they may work eight hours)
  • 26 hours during a school week (exception: during a calendar week in which their school is in session fewer than five days, they may work 32 hours)
  • 50 hours during a non-school week

Maximum daily and weekly hours and days per week for minors ages 14 and 15:
8-40-6 non- school day/week period; school day/week: 4 (8 last school day of week and non-school day) - 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

Most Wisconsin employers hiring or permitting minors between the ages of 12 and 15 to work must possess a valid work permit for each minor before work may be performed. The work permit establishes a minor's proof of age and ensures that the employer, parent/guardian, and minor are aware of the employment of minors laws and regulations. Age certificate for 18 and over may be required by employers.

Minimum Wages

The minimum wages in Wisconsin is $8.75. 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.


  • https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/er/laborstandards/workpermit/minoremployment.htm
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_working_age
  • https://alcoholpolicy.niaaa.nih.gov/apis-policy-topics/minimum-ages-for-on-premises-servers-and-bartenders/38
  • https://www.dol.gov/age-certificates