Hiring A Minor


    Who is Considered a Minor

    • A minor is considered anyone under the age of 17. The minimum age for minors to work is 14, except under very limited circumstances where the federal laws do not apply.

    What Wages can a Minor Receive?

    • The minimum wage for 16 and 17 year old workers is the same for adults. Minors under the age of 16 may be paid 85% of the state minimum wage.

    What Meal and Rest Periods are Required?

      For 14 and 15 year olds:

      • Each meal break must be every 4 hours worked and for at least 30 minutes uninterrupted. The meal period must be separate from and in addition to rest breaks.
      • Each rest break must be at least 10 minutes every 2 hours.

      For 16 and 17 year olds:

      • Each meal break must be at least 30 minutes uninterrupted when working more than 5 hours per day.
      • Each rest break must be at least 10 minutes for each 4 hours worked and must be taken at least every 3 hours.

    What Hours may a Minor Work?

    The following table indicates the hours and schedules minors are permitted to work (see exceptions below):

      Hrs Per Day Hrs Per Week Days Per Week Begin Quit
    14 - 15 yo
    School Weeks 3 hrs (8 hrs Sat - Sun) 16 hrs 6 days 7 a.m. 7 p.m.
    Non-School Weeks 8 hrs 40 hrs 6 days 7 a.m. 7 p.m. (9 p.m. June to Labor Day)
    16 - 17 yo
    School Weeks 4 hrs (8 hrs Fri - Sun) 20 hrs 6 days 7 a.m. 10 p.m. (Midnight Fri - Sat)
    School Weeks with Special Variance (see "exceptions" below) 6 hrs (8 hrs Fri- Sun) 28 hrs 6 days 7 a.m. 10 p.m. (midnight Fri - Sat)
    Non-School weeks 8 hrs 48 hrs 6 days 5 a.m. Midnight

    Exceptions to Permitted Work Hours:

    • A 16 or 17 year old may work more hours per week as shown on the table above if there is "good cause" such as a special variance or regular variance.
    • A 16 or 17 year old may work non-school hours during the school year if h/she is married, a parent, possesses a GED, is registered in accredited college courses or is emancipated under Washington State Law.

    Prohibited Work

    A minor may not be asked or allowed to perform work activities prohibited by the Department of Labor and Industries in non-agricultural jobs

    Keeping Minors Safe

    Teens are entitled to a safe and healthy work environment as well as workers' compensation. It is important to remember that adolescence is a time of rapid change and learning.

    To help keep minors safe, they:

    • Require increased supervision and lots of repetition to learn new skills,
    • Need to follow all the health and safety requirements, and
    • Should be encouraged to ask questions and ask for assistance if they are unsure of how to do assigned tasks.


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Page Updated 06.03.2013