What's the Legal Working Age in Louisiana?

Working can help teens financially and beyond

father and son working at delicatessen together
Getty Images/Kathrin Ziegler

If you're a resident living in Louisiana and you are considering getting your first job, don't start your job search without finding out what the minimum legal working age in your state is. If you are of legal age to work in Louisiana then you can start saving for a car, college tuition, and books, clothing, or other whatever hot new app is worth downloading on iTunes. Just as important, entering the workforce will teach you valuable life skills such as teamwork, overcoming obstacles, and problem-solving.

Age Restrictions and Types of Work for Louisiana Teens

Both federal child labor laws and Louisiana state law agree that the minimum age to work is 14 (with some exceptions). However, child labor laws in each state sometimes vary as to the minimum age to work and which permits are needed. When this happens, federal law will be followed if it's more stringent.

In certain circumstances, teens younger than 14 may sometimes work. The minimum age to work does not include door-to-door sales (e.g., selling Girl Scout cookies), working in the agricultural field (e.g., on the family farm), and in the child entertainment industry. Teens may also be paid to work for household chores, yard work (e.g., raking leaves but not using power-driven tools), babysitting, and paper routes.

So, even though teens under the age of 14 can't work in an official capacity, they have opportunities to earn money. Child labor laws also don't usually apply to children who work for their parents in a family-owned business, where they might be paid to sort and distribute the mail.

Before youth begin their jobs, they should review the rules and restrictions surrounding child labor laws to know their rights and the protections the government affords them.

Certificates Required for Work

Louisiana state law requires child employment certificates for youth under age 18. Employment certificates are provided by the school system and are easy to obtain. A parent and the potential employer must sign the paperwork to complete the process. The state doesn't require minors to have an age certificate by request.

What Hours Can Teens Work?

Although teens ages 14-15 can work in a variety of jobs (including in offices, restaurants, grocery stores, retail stores, and hospitals) the hours they work are restricted. Youth this age can't work more than three hours on a school day, 18 hours in a school week, eight hours in a non-school day or 40 hours during a non-school week.

Additionally, these teens can only work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (except from June 1 through Labor Day when working hours extend to 9 p.m.). While older teens can work more hours and for a longer time span, 16-year-olds may not work between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on school days, and 17-year-olds may not work between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. on school days.

Teens of all ages must get a break after working for five hours straight. It is also prohibited to allow minors to work in hazardous occupations that expose them to toxic chemicals, dangerous machines, or dangerous work situations such as mines.

For more information on the minimum age to work in Louisiana and how to obtain employment certificates, visit the Louisiana State Labor Website.