Employing Minors in Minnesota


Minors, under the wage and hour laws, are those individuals who have not yet attained age 18. There is quite a disparity between federal and state laws in this area of law and employers are encouraged to consult legal counsel. Minors under 14 are not permitted to work in Minnesota except in limited occupations (babysitting, newspaper delivery, agricultural operations, youth athletic referees, etc.).121 Minors under 16 may not work before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m. on any day. They may not work more than 8 hours per day or 40 hours in a week. High school students under age 18 are restricted from working after 11 p.m. the night before a school day and before 5 a.m. on a school day subject to limited exceptions. If the minor age 16 or 17 obtains a note of permission from a parent or a guardian, the student may be permitted to work until 11:30 p.m. before a school day and begin at 4:30 a.m. on a school day.122 Both federal and state law have unique restrictions that should be carefully reviewed. Employment certificates may be obtained to permit limited exceptions.

Certain types of employment may be prohibited completely for minors under 16, or severely restricted for minors under 18. When a Minnesota employer seeks to hire a minor, legal counsel should be consulted concerning whether the minor can legally perform the job in question.123


Employers must require minors to provide proof of age through a copy of the minor’s age certificate, birth certificate, copy of the minor’s driver’s license, or a Form I-9.124 Employers also may rely upon state or federal age certificates for their minor employees, usually completed by the minor’s school. The age certificate ensures that the minor is in fact the age he represents himself to be, and the employer is entitled to rely upon this certification. Age certificates, therefore, protect employers from unwitting violation of child labor laws.125 Employers are subject to minimum wage and overtime laws and penalties for the employment of minors and to specific additional penalties for violations of the child labor laws.126 Caution: disparities exist between federal and state child labor laws. Employers should check all applicable laws.

CREDITS: The content of this and any related posts has been copied or adopted from An Employer’s Guide to Employment Issues in Minnesota, provided by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development & Linquist & Vennum P.L.L.P., Tenth Edition, 2009. Copies are available without charge from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Small Business Assistance Office.

This post is also part of a series of posts on Minnesota wage and hour issues.

118. 29 C.F.R. § 541.600 (a) (2007).
119. 29 C.F.R. § 541.602 (2007).
120. 29 C.F.R. § 541.602 (b) (7) (2007); 29 C.F.R. § 825.206 (2007).
121. Minn. Stat. § 181A.07 (2007).136
122. Minn. Stat. § 181A.04, subd. 6 (2007).
123. Minn. Stat § 181A.04 (2007); 29 C.F.R. § 570.122 (2007).
124. Minn. Stat. § 181A.06, subd. 1 (2007).
125. 29 C.F.R. § 570.121 (2007).