Limits on Jobs Minors Can Have

Limits on Jobs Minors Can Have

A toolbelt

Some laws limit the kinds of work minors can do, and set rules about working hours and conditions.  These laws, generally called child labor laws, are intended to protect the health of young workers by keeping them away from dangerous work or exploitation.

If you are under 18, state law limits what types of work you can do and the hours you may work.  If you are younger than 18, you cannot work at all in hazardous excavation, underground in mines, as a hoisting engineer in mines, or generally in any occupation that is dangerous or that might be bad for your health.  You also cannot work more than six days a week.  Certain exceptions may apply.  Contact the Alaska Wage and Hour Administration for more information.

After you turn 18, you can work in jobs that require you to do hazardous tasks such as handling explosives, using power-driven cutting machinery, logging, mining, roofing, and meat processing.  It is important that you have a realistic understanding of your skills and physical abilities and be aware how an employer can take advantage of you, because the law will no longer prevent you from performing dangerous work.

If you are over 18 but not yet 21, you can work at a hotel or restaurant that is licensed to sell alcohol, but you cannot sell, serve, deliver, or dispense alcoholic beverages.  You may not sell tobacco or tobacco products before you turn 19.  If you are under 21, you may not sell pull-tabs.

If you are 16 or 17, you may work at a hotel, restaurant, or eating place that serves alcohol if your job does not require you to serve, mix, deliver, or dispense alcoholic beverages and you have the written consent of your parent or guardian.

If you are under the age of 17, you must have a work permit issued by the Alaska Department of Labor.  For some jobs, federal law requires even 17-year-old workers to have a permit.  In addition, you must have the consent of your parent or guardian.  You must get a new work permit each time you get a new job.

If you are younger than 16, you may work only between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.  When school is in session, you may not work more than nine hours of school and work combined in one day, and no more than 23 hours outside of school hours in a week.  During school vacations, you cannot work more than 40 hours a week, and your hours must be between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.  You cannot work more than six days a week.  You may not work in an establishment that serves alcohol.

You also cannot work on fishing boats unless your parent operates the boat.  Federal law may be more restrictive.

If you are younger than 14, you may only work in the following jobs:

  • Newspaper sales and
  • Babysitting, handiwork, and domestic employment in or around private
  • Jobs in the entertainment industry, with an approved work permit from the Alaska Wage and Hour
  • Casing cans in a cannery under competent