The Minimum Legal Age to Work in New Jersey

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Getting a job can be a great way for New Jersey kids to earn money for nights out on the town, save for college, or help out their struggling families. But before beginning a job search, they need to know if they meet the state's minimum legal age to work.

Even if they're the right age to perform the kind of work they're interested in, young people need to be aware of any restrictions related to the number of hours they can work or if there are any tasks that are off-limits to them. Get the facts on working as a juvenile in the Garden State, with this review.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Work in Jersey? 

Federal child labor laws state that the minimum age to work is 14 (with some exceptions), and the same is true for New Jersey. When there is a conflict between federal and state laws, the more restrictive law will apply. Also, many states require workers under 18 to have a child employment certificate, and New Jersey is among them.

Young workers can obtain the employment certificate needed to work from their school. Go to the school office, and tell them that you're interested in getting a job and that you need this certificate.

Young New Jersey workers ages 18 to 21 may also obtain an age certificate from school to present to potential employers. However, New Jersey state law doesn't require an age certificate.

Exceptions to the Rule

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. Also, there are other child labor laws that limit the hour's minors can work and regulate the minimum wage.

Juveniles who haven't reached the age of 14 can usually perform in a number of jobs, such as paper routes and babysitting.

Limitations on Hours for Young Teens

While New Jersey teens can work in a variety of jobs, the state does have restrictions on the hours 14- to 15-year-olds can work. When school is in session, they can't work more than 18 hours per week or more than three hours on school days. They can't work more than eight hours per day on Saturday or Sunday and no more than six consecutive days in a pay week.

When school is not in session, teens in this age group can work up to 40 hours per week.

Older Teens Have More Flexibility

Older teens—those ages 16 and 17—have more freedom in the workplace, but they still have some restrictions. Whether or not school is in session, they can't work more than 40 hours per week or eight hours per day. They must not work more than six consecutive days in a pay week.

Teens of all ages are generally barred from doing dangerous jobs, such as those involving hazardous materials or power-driven machines.