Federal child labor laws state that the minimum age to work is 14, with some exceptions. However, child labor laws in each state may also indicate the minimum age to work and which permits are needed. When there is a conflict between federal and state laws, the more restrictive law will apply.
Before seeking out jobs for teens, review the rules and restrictions surrounding minor labor laws. The following overview gives the requirements for children to work in the state of Indiana. For specific laws and rules in your state, visit your state's labor website.
Do Kids Always Need a Work Permit?
Indiana doesn't require a work permit (employment certificate) for certain types of jobs or situations. For example, kids aged 14 to 17 don't need a work permit to be a babysitter, newspaper carrier, golf caddie, farm laborer, certified sports referee or umpire, actor, model or performer.
Emancipated children also do not need a work permit for employment. Any other type of work, even if it's performed for the child's parents in a business, for example, requires the child to have a work permit if they're between ages 14 and 17.
Indiana Child Labor Laws and Specifications
When a child age 14 to 17 chooses to go to work, he needs to apply for a job and get hired first, and then he may apply for a work permit.
Child work permit needed to work: Required by Indiana state law for kids under age 18. Kids may apply for a work permit at 14 years of age.
Where to obtain work permit needed to work: Work permits are provided by an accredited high school in the district in which the child lives or Indiana's Department of Labor. Check with your school's administrative office to find out the steps involved in getting a work permit. The child may need to show his birth certificate as proof of age.
Typically, the student needs to be in good standing in terms of class attendance and academic performance. Home-schooled kids would also apply to the high school in their district for a work permit.
Work permit needed to work: Children ages 14 to 17 can get a work permit.
Where to obtain age certificate for work: The age certificate is not required, but 18-21-year-olds and older can obtain an age certificate provided by a high school in their district.
Work hours for kids: For kids aged 14, work hours are limited to three-hour shifts on school days and eight-hour shifts on non-school days. The allowable hours increase more each year as the child gets approaches 18 years of age.
State Labor Website: For more information on the minimum age to work in Indiana and how to obtain work permits visit the Indiana State Labor Website.
Additional State Laws: The minimum age to work does not include door-to-door sales, working in the agricultural field, and the child entertainment industry. All of those employment categories have different minimum age requirements. In addition, other child labor laws limit the hours minors can work.
Jobs for Kids: Once you determine that you meet the minimum age to work in your state, you can begin to look for jobs for kids. Job ideas include working in retail, food service, entertainment parks and more
Requirements for other states: If you live in a different state, or plan to work in a different state, you can review the minimum age to work by state.
The state of Indiana has developed a form, Intent to Employ/A1, to streamline the work permit process for kids. The employer fills the form out with details about the pending employment, and the child takes this completed form to the school when applying for a work permit.