Minimum Working Age By State 2020

The United States Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) child labor provisions are designed to protect the educational opportunities of minors and prevent them from working in jobs that are hazardous to their health and safety. The FLSA establishes wages, hours worked, and safety requirements for minors (individuals under 18 years old) working in jobs covered by the statute. The law sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years old for non-agricultural jobs, restricts the hours that individuals under 16 may work, and prohibits any minor from being employed in hazardous occupations.

All employees of an enterprise are covered by the statute regardless of the duties they perform. As defined by the FLSA, enterprises include any type of government agency (federal, state, or local), a hospital, a school or institute of higher learning, and a company or organization with an annual dollar volume of sales or receipts of $500,000 or more.

All federal employment laws on discrimination, safety and health, benefits, etc. apply to both minors and adult workers.

Investigators from the Wage and Hour Division carry out FLSA enforcement across the United States by gathering data on wages, hours, and other employment practices or conditions to ensure that employers are complying with the guidelines. When violations are found, investigators may recommend changes to bring an employer into compliance. It is a violation to fire or discriminate against an employee who files a complaint or participates in a legal proceeding involving FLSA violations. Employers who willfully violate FLSA guidelines regarding child labor provisions may be prosecuted criminally and pay fines up to $10,000 for each employee who was the subject of the violation. Repeat violators may face imprisonment.

All U.S. states have standards concerning youth employment. If federal and state standards are different, the rules that provide the most protection to young workers will apply. States may also have separate legal penalties for violating child labor laws.

The states have different age requirements for youth working during school hours and youth working outside of school hours, as well as different ages for agricultural jobs. 28 states have their own minimum working age for minors working during school hours, which ranges from 12 to 18 years old. Minimum ages for working outside of school hours and for agricultural jobs range from 9 to 14 years old depending on the state and the crop. A few states do not have a minimum age for agricultural jobs as long as the youth has parental consent. Utah is one of these states.

Illinois has the youngest minimum age of 12 years for youth working during school hours. If working outside of school hours, the minimum age decreases to 10 years old.

In Oregon, the minimum wage for working during school hours is 16; however, if working outside of school hours, the minimum age is 12. Furthermore, the minimum age for working outside of school hours is further reduced to 9 years old if picking berries or beans for intrastate use with parental permission.

Below is a table of each state’s minimum working age for working during school hours.

Minimum Working Age By State 2020

State Minimum Age 2020 Pop.
Wisconsin185,851,750
Washington187,797,100
New Hampshire181,371,250
Hawaii181,412,690
California1839,937,500
Virginia168,626,210
Vermont16628,061
Utah163,282,120
South Carolina165,210,100
Oregon164,301,090
Ohio1611,747,700
New York1619,440,500
New Mexico162,096,640
New Jersey168,936,570
Missouri166,169,270
Minnesota165,700,670
Michigan1610,045,000
Iowa163,179,850
Idaho161,826,160
Connecticut163,563,080
Colorado165,845,530
Arkansas163,039,000
Arizona167,378,490
Alaska16734,002
North Dakota14761,723
Nevada143,139,660
Massachusetts146,976,600
Illinois1212,659,700
Wyoming567,025
West Virginia1,778,070
Texas29,472,300
Tennessee6,897,580
South Dakota903,027
Rhode Island1,056,160
Pennsylvania12,820,900
Oklahoma3,954,820
North Carolina10,611,900
Nebraska1,952,570
Montana1,086,760
Mississippi2,989,260
Maryland6,083,120
Maine1,345,790
Louisiana4,645,180
Kentucky4,499,690
Kansas2,910,360
Indiana6,745,350
Georgia10,736,100
Florida21,993,000
Delaware982,895
Alabama4,908,620