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Can a 15 Year Old Work in Ohio?


If you are a parent of a teenager, it is possible they want to get a job in order to secure funds for their college education or to simply have spending money. In Ohio, as in every state in the United States, child labor laws are in place. While it is possible for teenagers aged 14 to 17 to work, there are regulations and restrictions in place. Guidelines surrounding how many hours can be worked, for instance, are in place to protect individual rights.

When questions about labor laws arise, talk to an employment attorney. When Ohio minors are seeking jobs, it is important they understand what types of jobs they can have and the pay level employers are legally obligated to follow in regard to compensation.

How Many Hours Can a Teenager Work?

Daily and weekly hour caps are in place for teenage workers. For many teenagers, they can only work a maximum of 18 hours each week and three hours each day when school is in session. There are exceptions, but the exemption restrictions typically are in connection with a vocation or work-study program. The Ohio State Board of Education is a resource for which specific jobs are exempt.

While 16 year olds and 17 year olds can work longer into the day, for instance until 11 p.m. on school nights where a 14 or 15 year old needs to complete work by 9 p.m., there are still restrictions in place. For example, these older teens are still not able to begin a work shirt earlier than 6 a.m. if they worked a shift the night before that began before 8 p.m. The rules are in place to be sure that teenagers are able to make their school work a top priority.

Are there Certain Occupations Minors Cannot Legally Work?

Under child labor laws in the state of Ohio, certain jobs in targeted industries are not allowed to be worked by minors, specifically individuals aged 14-17. A list of some of the occupations that are blocked from minors include the following.

  • Manufacturing of building materials, explosives, or chemicals
  • Meat packing or slaughterhouse positions
  • Demolition and excavation work
  • Jobs using power-driven machines
  • Materials or substances that are radioactive
  • Coal mining, logging, and roofing
  • Any position involving sale of alcohol

Naturally, there are situations that shift depending on the age of the individual. For example, at the age of 18, a person can work in a restaurant that serves alcohol as a hostess, cashier or waitperson, but they are unable to serve alcohol until they are 21 years old, the legal drinking age. All employers need to maintain employment records to prove they are following labor laws.

Do you believe an Ohio workplace is taking advantage of young staff members? Contact the lawyers at Coffman Legal LLC today. We are strong and committed advocates for all Ohio workers and use our experience and knowledge to help you. Call 614-949-1181 for a free and confidential consultation.


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