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Minor Workers

Minors, their parents, and employers should know about the laws that protect children at work. They include hiring and working conditions that are specific to minors, restrictions on the hours, and the types of work a minor can do.

All employers must have a certificate to employ minors under 18 years of age. Employers can apply online or email whdchildlabor@boli.state.or.us.

The law

Minimum wage

All minors must be paid the applicable minimum wage.

Meals and breaks

Minor workers must get 30+ minute meal breaks if they work six or more hours in one work period.

Minor workers also must get 15+ minute paid rest breaks during each four hours (or major portion) of work time. Adult workers are required to get 10 minute breaks.​

Adequate work

Adequate work must be provided if the employer requires the minor to report to work. Adequate work means enough work (or compensation in lieu of work) to earn at least one-half of the amount earned during the minor's regularly scheduled hours to work.

Working hours

For 14 and 15 year-olds
  • When school is in session:
    • Maximum work 3 hours per day
    • Maximum 8 hours on non-school days
    • 18 hours per week maximum
    • Hours limited to only between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm
    • ​Working is not allowed during school hours
  • When school is not in session
    • 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week maximum
    • From June 1 through Labor Day: 7:00 am to 9:00 pm
For 16 and 17 year olds 
  • Any hours
  • 44 hours per week maximum

This summary provides general information concerning the application of state and federal wage and hour regulations to the employment of minors in agriculture. In those cases where both state and federal laws apply, complianc​e with the most stringent standard is required. For more detailed information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s website at www.dol.gov/whd or contact the Wage and Hour Division at (503) 326-3057.

Contact BOLI’s Wage and Hour Division at (971) 673-0844.​

Definition of agriculture

Agriculture includes farming in all its branches when performed by a farmer or on a farm as an incident to or in conjunction with such farming operations. Employees of a farmer who handle agriculture commodities of other farmers are not considered to be engaged in agriculture.

Minimum age requirements

Minors age 16 and above may work at any time in jobs not declared hazardous by the U.S. Secretary of Labor.

Minors ages 14 and 15 may work outside school hours in jobs not declared hazardous by the U.S. Secretary of Labor. (See "PROHIBITED WORK" on reverse.)

Minors ages 12 and 13 may work outside school hours in jobs not declared hazardous by the U.S. Secretary of Labor, either with written parental consent or on the same farm where their parents are employed.

Minors ages 9 through 11 may pick berries and beans outside school hours if they have the written consent of their parents or guardians and ONLY if the farm has used less than 500 man days of labor in all calendar quarters of the preceding year OR the produce is sold within the state AND the produce is not transported outside the state in any form. The container must be distinctly marked so as to prevent the product from entering interstate commerce.

Local minors ages 10 and 11 may hand harvest short-season crops outside school hours for no more than 8 weeks between June 1 and October 15 IF their employers have obtained special waivers from the U.S. Secretary of Labor.

Minors of any age may work in any job on a farm owned or operated by their parents.

Hours limitations for minors under 16

Minors under age 16 may not work while school is in session. A maximum of three hours/day may be worked on school days; 10 hours/day on non-school days; and a maximum of 25 hours/week may be worked during school weeks. During the summer months or other school vacation periods of one week or more, a maximum of 10 hours/day and 60 hours/week may be worked unless a special permit is first obtained from BOLI. No more than six days/week may be worked. ​

Minors under age 16 employed to operate, assist in the operation of, or ride in or on power-driven farm machinery may work a maximum of eight hours/day on non-school days; and 18 hours/week during school weeks. During the harvest season (summer months), a maximum of 10 hours/day and 60 hours/week may be worked unless a special permit is first obtained from BOLI. Outside the harvest season, a maximum of 44 hours/week is allowed without an emergency overtime permit.

There is no restriction on starting and quitting times for minors employed in agriculture, so long as the minor does not work when school is in session.

Hours limitations for minors over 16​

Minors 16 and 17 years of age who are employed to operate, assist in the operation of, or ride in or on powerdriven farm machinery may work a maximum of 25 hours/week during school weeks and 60 hours/week during the harvest season unless a special permit is first obtained from BOLI.

Prohibited work

Minors under 16 may not be employed in feed mills, flour mills, grain warehouses, or any workplace where power-driven machinery is used in or incidental to adapting articles or goods for sale. No minor under age 18 may be employed to operate or assist in the operation of power-driven machinery; however, under certain circumstances, agricultural employers may employ 16 and 17 year olds to operate or assist in the operation of power-driven machinery in an agricultural warehouse. Youths employed on farms owned or operated by their parents may be employed in any occupation. Fourteen and 15 year old student learners enrolled in vocational agricultural programs are exempt from some of the hazardous occupations provisions when certain requirements are met. For a complete listing of prohibited/hazardous occupations or operations or for more information, contact BOLI or the U.S. Department of Labor.

Power-driven farm machinery

Minors employed to operate, assist in the operation of, or ride in or on power-driven farm machinery or conveyances connected to power-driven farm machinery must first complete training relating to the safe operation of the machinery. (For more information regarding specific training requirements, contact BOLI.)

Minimum wage/overtime/rest and meal period requirements

Agricultural employees must be paid the state minimum wage, with the following exceptions:
  • Agricultural employers who utilized less than 500 man days or piece-rate work days of agricultural labor in all calendar quarters of the preceding calendar year;
  • Agricultural employees who are immediate family members;
  • Employees who are principally engaged in the range production of livestock;
  • Local hand harvest laborers who commute daily from their permanent residence, are paid on a piece rate basis in traditionally piece-rated occupations, and were employed in agriculture less than 13 weeks during the preceding calendar year.
  • Hand harvest workers 16 years of age and younger who are employed on the same farm as their parents, paid on a piece rate basis in traditionally piece-rated occupations, and paid the same piece rate as those over 16.
​Agricultural employment is exempt from the overtime provisions of both state and federal law.

Meal periods of not less than 30 minutes must be provided to non-exempt minor employees who work six or more hours in one work period.

Paid rest periods of at least 15 minutes must be provided to minor employees during each four hour period (or major portion) of work time. Rest periods may not be added to the meal period or deducted from the beginning or end of the work period in order to reduce the length of the work period.

Employment certificates

Employers who employ minors to operate, assist in the operation of, or ride in or on power-driven farm machinery are first required to obtain an annual employment certificate from BOLI. Agricultural employers who do not employ minors to operate power-driven farm machinery are not required to obtain an employment certificate.

This summary is for general information only and does not represent a complete statement of the wage and hour regulations.

g:\whd\publics\Employment of Minors in Agriculture.doc
(Rev. 8/14)​


​Federal law prohibits minors under age 18 from being employed in certain high-risk occupations. In Oregon, this includes agricultural employers.

The restricted hazardous occupations for all minors include the following:
 

Occupations involving explosives

All occupations in or about plants or establishments manufacturing or storing explosives or articles containing explosive components.
 

Motor vehicle occupations

All occupations of motor vehicle driver or outside helper riding outside the cab for the purpose of assisting in the transporting of goods.
 

Coal mine occupations

All coal mining occupations performed under ground, in an open pit, or on the surface of a coal mining plant for the purpose of extracting, grading, cleaning or handling coal.
 

Logging and sawmilling occupations

All logging operations or occupations in the operation of any sawmill, lathmill, shingle mill, or cooperage stock mill.
 

Power driven woodworking machine occupations

Woodworking occupations involving the use or maintenance of power driven woodworking machines for cutting, shaping, forming, surfacing, nailing, stapling, wire stitching, fastening or assembling, pressing or printing of wood or veneer.
 

Occupations involving exposure to radioactive substances

Occupations involving exposure to radioactive substances and to ionizing radiations.
 

Power driven hoisting apparatus occupations

Occupations involving the operation of power driven hoisting apparatus or assisting in the operation of hoisting apparatus, such as:
  • Elevators     
  • Cranes
  • Derricks
  • Hoists
  • Fork-lifts
  • High-lift trucks
  • Man-lifts
  • Freight elevators​

Power driven metal working machine occupations

The occupations of operator of or helper on power driven metal forming, punching and shearing machines.
 
This order DOES NOT APPLY TO a very large group of metal working machines known as machine tools. These, as well as a number of other machine tools, may be used by 16- and 17-year-old minors and include:
  • Milling function machines
  • Lathes
  • Planing function machines
  • Borers
  • Grinding function machines-drills
  • Drill press-reamers
  • Honers

Occupations in mining, other than coal

Occupations in or on the surface of underground mines or quarries.
 

Occupations in slaughtering or meat processing

Occupations involving slaughtering, meat packing or processing, or rendering, including but not limited to, the use, repair or cleaning of the following machines: meat patty forming machines, meat slicing machines, meat and bone cutting saws, knives and grinding, mixing, chopping machines.
 

Power driven bakery machine occupations

The occupations of operating, assisting to operate, repair or cleaning of dough mixers, batter mixers, bread dividing, rounding or molding machines, dough brake, dough sheeters, bread slicing and wrapping machines and cake cutting band saws. The occupation of setting up or adjusting a cookie or cracker machines. Other bakery machines may be used by 16- and 17-year-old minors.
 

Power driven paper products machine occupations

The occupations of operating or assisting to operate paper products machines including, but not limited to: arm type wire stitchers or staplers, cover cutters, circular or band saws, guillotine paper cutters, scrap paper balers, platen die cutting presses, platen printing presses and punch presses.
 
Many paper products machines MAY be used by 16- and 17-year-old minors, including but not limited to:
  • Bag-making and box-making machines
  • Gluing, gumming and folding machines
  • Rotary printing presses.

Brick and tile manufacturing occupations

All work in or about establishments in which clay construction products are manufactured except work in offices, storage, shipping and drying departments. All work in or about establishments in which silica brick or silica refractory products are manufactured, except work in offices.
 

Operation of power saws and shears occupations

All occupations of operator or helper or setting up, repairing or cleaning circular saws, band saws and guillotine shears.
 

Occupations in wrecking, demolition and shipbreaking operations

All occupations in wrecking, demolition and shipbreaking.
 

Occupations in roofing operations

All roofing operations, including gutter and downspout work.
 

Occupations in Excavation Operations

Excavating, working in, or backfilling trenches exceeding four feet in depth. Excavating for buildings or working in such excavations. Working in tunnels or shafts prior to the completion of all driving, sinking and shoring operations.
 

Messenger service occupations

All delivery of messages or goods between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
 
For a complete listing, see Child Labor Bulletin No. 101​ from the U.S. Department of Labor.

  • Comply with all child labor laws.
  • Verify the age of each minor hired from an appropriate proof of age document such as a passport, driver’s license or birth certificate.
  • Maintain a list of all minors hired.
  • Post a validated Employment Certificate in a conspicuous location where all employees may readily see it.
  • Employers can apply for a certificate online.

What type of employer are you?

Find the appropriate employer type below to identify permits and certificates that are required.

  • Employers must file an annual Employment Certificate Application with the Bureau of Labor and Industries. Upon approval, employers will receive a Certificate.
  • If you change the work duties of minors at any time, you must fill out a Notice of Change Form and send it to the bureau for approval.
  • The bureau sends renewal notices to employers approximately six weeks prior to the expiration of an annual certificate.

For other Special Permit or Certificate applications, please contact the Child Labor Unit at whdchildlabor@boli.state.or.us or 971-973-0836.

Non-agricultural employer

Agriculture employer

Agriculture includes farming in all its branches when performed by a farmer or on a farm as an incident to or in conjunction with such farming operations. Employees of a farmer who handle agriculture commodities of other farmers are not considered to be engaged in agriculture.

Entertainment employer

Entertainment includes employment as an entertainer or performer in motion pictures, television, radio, still photography, recording, modeling, theatrical appearances, rodeos, musical performances and any other activity where minors perform to entertain the public, or as a performer in connection with the production of commercial advertising, education, training, institutional purposes or documentaries. Entertainment does not include appearances in school activities, church pageants, or other appearances where minors are not employed as an entertainer or performer.

Entertainment employers who anticipate employing minors in certain types of productions, for fewer than 5 days, in more than one production, may apply for an Annual Registration Certificate. This replaces the need for an Employment Certificate or other Employment Permits. Limited to employment in connection with the production of commercial advertising; education, training, or institutional purposes; or documentaries.

Frequently asked questions

Who is a minor?

For purposes of employment, a "minor" is anyone under the age of 18. In general, a minor must be at least 14 years old to work in Oregon. In rare circumstances, the Oregon Wage and Hour Commission may allow younger individuals to work.

Does a minor still need a work permit in order to be employed?

Prior to September 9, 1995, every minor was required to obtain an individual work permit, and each employer was also required to apply for a separate employment certificate for each minor hired. Minors over 14 years old are now no longer required to obtain work permits, and the process for employers has also been greatly simplified.

What steps must an employer take before hiring a minor?

An employer must verify the age of every minor hired and must also apply each year for a single annual employment certificate. The certificate covers all minors employed, even in multiple locations. The employer estimates the number of minors to be employed during the year, lists their job duties, and identifies equipment or machinery they will use. BOLI´s Child Labor Unit reviews the application and, if approved, sends the validated certificate to the employer. The certificate must be posted in a conspicuous place where employees may readily review it. Yearly renewal notices are sent to employers who have certificates on file.

What employment laws apply to minors? (Is minimum wage required?)

Minors are generally protected by the same laws that protect adults. They must be paid the same minimum wage as adults for all hours worked. Minors are also covered by overtime laws and laws regulating paydays, final paychecks, and deductions from wages. Although the age discrimination law in Oregon applies only to persons 18 or older, minors are otherwise protected by the same state and federal anti-discrimination laws that apply to adults.

How many hours may minors work in a day?

There are no limits on the number of hours 16- and 17-year-olds may work in a day. However, 14- and 15-year-olds may not work during school hours, may not work more than three hours on any school day, and may not work more than eight hours on non-school days. Also, 14- and 15-year-olds may only work between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. (and as late as 9:00 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day).

How many hours may minors work in a week?

Sixteen- and 17-year-olds may work up to 44 hours per week. Fourteen- and 15-year-olds may work at most 18 hours per week during the school year and 40 hours per week when school is not in session.

What type of work is prohibited for minors?

Several hazardous types of work are completely off-limits for minors. These include the operation of most power-driven machinery, including hoisting, woodworking and cutting/slicing equipment. Also prohibited are tasks involving exposure to dangerous worksites, such as work in mines, on roofs and in areas containing radioactive substances. Fourteen- and 15-year-olds are subject to greater restrictions, and are not permitted to work in or around most kinds of power-driven machinery or on construction sites, in warehouses, or at other locations where power-driven machinery is used. There are some exceptions for work experience/student- learner programs which meet specific criteria.

Are employers required to provide meal periods and rest periods for minors?

Yes. As with adults, minors must be given a paid rest period for every work segment of four hours or the major portion thereof (any period longer than two hours). Although rest periods for adults must be at least 10 minutes, they must be at least 15 minutes for minors. In addition, minors must be given at least a 30-minute meal period, beginning no later than five hours and one minute after the minor reports for duty. This meal period can be unpaid as long as the minor is completely relieved of all duties. While 14- and 15-year-olds must always be relieved of all duties during the meal period, 16- and 17-year-olds may work through the meal period when business conditions require it, if they are paid for the meal period.

Is there any work that is excluded from the child labor regulations?

Yes. Minors delivering newspapers or performing domestic work (such as lawn-mowing or baby-sitting) in private residences are not covered by child labor laws.

I need landscaping work done around my office. Can I employ a minor to operate a power-driven lawnmower?

Yes, if the minor is 16 or 17. Fourteen- and 15-year-olds may not operate power-driven mowers except at private residences, as indicated above.

If a minor arrives for a scheduled shift but is not needed, must the employer still pay for part of the minor´s scheduled hours?

Yes, the employer must pay either the amount the minor would have earned for half the shift, or one hour´s wages, whichever is greater. [Note: A similar law for adults was repealed in 1990.]

Can I employ a 17-year-old to deliver items to customers?

No. Although minors with valid driver´s licenses may drive to and from work, they may not drive on public roads while on the job. There are limited exceptions for 16- and 17-year-olds in agriculture.

Can I employ a 15-year-old to cook in my restaurant?

No, unless the cooking is done in a place visible to the public, such as a soda fountain, lunch counter, snack bar or cafeteria serving counter. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds may perform kitchen work out of the public view, provided they do not use certain hazardous baking, mixing and slicing machinery.

Are minors in agriculture subject to the same limitations?

Different rules apply to minors working  agriculture. For example, minors as young as 12 years old may pick crops on a farm where their parents are employed, or if their parents provide written consent. For details, refer to BOLI's online information sheet on the Employment of Minors.




Disclaimer: This website is not intended as legal advice. Any responses to specific questions are based on the facts as we understand them and the law that was current when the responses were written. They are not intended to apply to any other situations. This communication is not an agency order. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.​


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