For a teenager, getting a summer job can be pretty exciting.  (I know, I know... less time at that beach or to have fun with friends, but getting a summer job typically ends up to be a pretty great experience.  Not only are you earning your first paycheck, but you're gaining valuable experience and making contacts that will ultimately help you get your next job and so on and so forth.

Federal and State laws govern what hours you can work, what jobs you can work and how you can help prevent workplace injuries.

If you are under 13 or younger. . . 

  • 14 years old is the minimum age for non-agricultural employment covered by the FLSA. However:
  • You can deliver newspapers.
  • You can work as a baby-sitter.
  • You can work as an actor or performer in motion pictures, television, theater or radio.
  • You can work in a business solely owned or operated by your parents.
  • You can work on a farm owned or operated by your parents. (However, parents are prohibited from employing their children in manufacturing, mining, or any other occupation declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor. )

If you are 14 or 15, you can work . . . 

  • From June 1 - Labor Day you can work from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., outside of school hours.
  • You can work no more than: 3 hours on a school day, 18 hours in a school week, 8 hours on a non-school day, and 40 hours in non-school week.

You can work in any capacity as shown above for ages 13 and younger.  You can also work in the following:

  • office,
  • grocery store,
  • retail store,
  • restaurant,
  • movie theater,
  • baseball park,
  • amusement park, or
  • gasoline service station.

 You generally may not work in:

  • communications or public utilities jobs,
  • construction or repair jobs,
  • driving a motor vehicle or helping a driver,
  • manufacturing and mining occupations,
  • power-driven machinery or hoisting apparatus other than typical office machines,
  • processing occupations,
  • public messenger jobs,
  • transporting of persons or property,
  • workrooms where products are manufactured, mined or processed, or
  • warehousing and storage.

 If you are 16 or older, you can work . . .

  • Any day, any time of day, and for any number of hours. There are no restrictions on the work hours of youth age 16 or older.
  • You can work in any job or occupation that has not been declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor.

You generally may not work in any of the following hazardous occupations:

  • manufacturing and storing of explosives,
  • driving a motor vehicle and being an outside helper on a motor vehicle;
  • coal mining,
  • logging and sawmilling,
  • power-driven woodworking machines,
  • exposure to radioactive substances,
  • power-driven hoisting apparatus,
  • power-driven metal-forming, punching, and shearing machines,
  • mining, other than coal mining,
  • meat packing or processing (including the use of power-driven meat slicing machines),
  • power-driven bakery machines,
  • power-driven paper-product machines,
  • manufacturing brick, tile, and related products,
  • power-driven circular saws, band saws, and guillotine shears,
  • wrecking, demolition, and shipbreaking operations,
  • roofing operations and all work on or about a roof, or
  • excavation operations.

Note:  Different rules apply to farms and other special industries.  Also, individual States may have stricter rules.

If you have a question or a dispute regarding a youth worker, visit LawInfo's Free Legal Resource Center to learn more about labor and employment laws.  For assistance with a legal matter, contact a labor lawyer or an employment attorney in your area today.