What Is the Minimum Legal Working Age in Ohio?

An Ohio teenage barista working in a coffee shop

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If you're an Ohio juvenile interested in getting a job, you need to know what the legal working age in the state is. With the right information, you can make plans to earn the cash to help pay for college, clothes, a car or nights on the town with friends. Of course, some young people also enter the workforce to help their struggling families make ends meet.

How Old You Must Be to Start Working in Ohio

Federal child labor laws state that the minimum age to work is 14, although there are some exceptions. Also, child labor laws in each state may also indicate the minimum age to work. Each state will also designate which permits a juvenile needs to be able to work in that state. When there is a conflict between federal and state laws, the more restrictive law will apply.

In Ohio specifically, minors must be at least 14 years of age to get a work permit, so there's no conflict between state and federal law here. Although young teens may work, there are several limitations to their employment options.

For example, Ohio teens in the 14-15 age bracket may not work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. Additionally, they may not work more than three hours on a school day or more than 18 hours in a school week. They're also prohibited from working during school hours unless their employment is related to a vocational training program. Overall, this means that young teens will not be able to give up school to work full-time.

Even when school is not in session because of winter, spring or summer breaks, young teens don't have free range in the workplace. They still may not work before 7 a.m., but they can work after 9 p.m. They're also prohibited from working more than eight hours per day or more than 40 hours per week.

Lastly, Ohio state law requires that at all times, kids under age 16 have a child employment certificate to work. Teens in the 16-17 age bracket need such permits to work during school hours. Schools provide these employment certificates.

Older Teens in the Workforce

Teens do not need an age certificate to work, but proof of age is required for 16 and 17-year-olds to work during vacations. Exceptions may apply to juveniles who work seasonal jobs in amusement parks.

When school is in session, 16 and 17-year-olds may not work before 6 or 7 a.m. if they're not working after 8 p.m. the previous night or after 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Unlike younger teens, they do not have restrictions on the hours that they work during a day or a week. When school is out for winter, spring or summer breaks, older teens do not have restrictions on the starting or ending time of their workdays.

If you're interested in more information about child labor, visit the Ohio State Labor website.