Frequently Asked Questions about Youth Employment

At what age can a young person start working?

Young people under the age of 14 are allowed to work only in limited areas such as the entertainment industry. An entertainment permit is required to do so. You can obtain a permit on this Web site, or by calling the Division of Labor Standards at 573-751-3403.

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What jobs are not allowable for 14- and 15-year-olds?

Prohibited occupations generally involve dangerous equipment (cookers, slicers), dangerous materials (such as toxic chemicals), or dangerous duties (driving, roofing). In addition, there are specific restrictions on employment of youth in hotels and businesses that sell alcoholic beverages. For more information contact the Missouri Division of Labor Standards at 573-751-3403.

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Under Missouri law, what times and hours can 14- and 15-year-olds work?

               Acceptable Work Hours: 14 and 15 Year Olds

 (While School is in Session)

 (While School is NOT in Session)

7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

7 a.m. to 9 p.m.*

No more than 8 hours on non-school days.
No more than 3 hours on school days.

No more than 8 hours on non-school days.
No more than 3 hours on school days.

No more than 6 days a week

No more than 6 days a week (40 hours a week)

*In certain circumstances, 14 and 15 year olds may work until 10:30 p.m. if employed at a regional fair when school is NOT in session.

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If a young person works for a parent does the law still apply?

The only allowable exemption from the law is when the business is owned by the parent or legal guardian and the child remains under the direct control of the parent or legal guardian. If the parent is simply a supervisor, the law still applies.

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What is a work certificate?

Any person who is 14 or 15 years old must give an employer a completed work certificate before working during school months. The work certificate is approved and issued by the local public school superintendent′s office and requires parental consent. You can get a work certificate form on this Web site or by calling the Division of Labor Standards at 573-751-3403.

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Does the superintendent of the public school need to sign off on the work certificate even if the youth is a private or home-schooled student?

Yes. Missouri law requires that work certificates are issued and signed by or under the direction of the superintendent of public schools in the district where the child lives.

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What if the superintendent does not sign the work certificate because he or she is not familiar with the student?

Statutes allow the superintendent to decide whether to issue the certificate. If the superintendent is unreasonable in his/her failure to issue a work certificate, the child can take advantage of the administrative review process Section 536.150 RSMo. provided by Missouri law.

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What is a work permit?

A work permit is more commonly called an entertainment permit. This form is issued by the Division of Labor Standards to permit a youth under age 16 to work in the entertainment industry. A completed entertainment permit form must be submitted to the Division with proof of birth. Turnaround time is generally within 48 hours. You can obtain a copy of the permit here on this Web site or by calling the Division of Labor Standards at 573-751-3403.

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Can a young person be an independent contractor?

No. Missouri law prohibits any individual under the age of 18 from working as an independent contractor.

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What if Missouri and federal child labor laws do not agree?

The federal law (Fair Labor Standards Act) applies when a company does more than $500,000 in annual business, or their employees engage in interstate commerce. When both federal and state laws apply but do not agree on a specific point, the stricter law applies, but both sets of laws must be complied with.

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