Panorama_view_of_ValleyfairAs kids flock to Valleyfair today, one thing is clear…schools out for summer!  [I really need a guitar riff here].  What hours can our teens work?  Teens ages 16 and 17 have NO restrictions during the summer! So, schedule away! I’m sure their parents will be more than grateful.  However, teens ages 14 and 15 cannot work before 7 am, or after 9 pm, and cannot work more than 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week – even during the summer and on weekends.

Kids younger than 14 cannot work at all, with some exceptions.  If they are 11 they may be a newspaper carrier.  If they work in agriculture they must be 12 and have parental consent.  They may be an actor or model, or may be a youth athletic program referee (if at least 11 and officiating in a bracket younger than their own age and with an adult representing the program on the premises).  In additional, a minor may be employed to do home chores, babysit, or be employed by a parent.

However, the MnDOLI Commissioner may grant exemptions to the youth work rules, but only if it is “in the best interest of the minor involved”, or for minors participating in state-approved training programs (such as those taught by a trade union).  Keep in mind that child labor exemption permits are an exception to the rule, and is typically reserved for unique qualifications, special employer needs (I have no idea what this would be), or youth with special talents.

Retain Proof of Age of Minor Employees!

But she LOOKED 16!  He SAID he was 16!  This is never a defense.  Don’t get so excited to have someone excited to do the dirty work that you don’t stop to verify the facts.  Employers are required to obtain a minor’s proof of age and maintain that with your payroll records.  Acceptable documentation may be a birth certificate, copy of driver’s permit or license, age certificate issued by school, or an I-9. This proof must be kept for so long as the teen is employed, and available for an agent of the Minnesota Division of Labor Standards to examine it if they so desire.


And if you mess up?  Penalties under Minn. Stat. 181A.12 range in amounts from $250 (for failing to have proof of age in his or her personnel file) to $1,000 per employee.  In addition, it may be found to be a misdemeanor and, should an employer engage in repeated violations, it may be a gross misdemeanor.