Tough Restrictions on Working Hours and Conditions for Children Who Are 14 and 15

Eugene Dalton

October 1914. Birmingham, Alabama. “A typical Birmingham messenger.” Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine.

Fortunately in the USA now, you can do this job as a bicycle messenger once you are fourteen.

US Department of Labor Regulations of 14 and 15 year old workers:

*All work must be performed outside school hours and you may not work:

*no more than 3 hours on a school day, including Friday;

*no more than 18 hours per week when school is in session;

*no more than 8 hours per day when school is not in session;

*no more than 40 hours per week when school is not in session;

*and not before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on any day, except from June 1st through Labor Day, when nighttime work hours are extended to 9 p.m.

Fortunately, once you are 14 you can work in most occupations and the Federal  Government mandates you must be paid the youth minimum wage of  $4.25 per hour for the first 90 consecutive calendar days of your employment. This is not limited to your first employer. Each time you change jobs, your new employer can pay you this youth minimum wage.

Otherwise, you are paid the standard Federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Once you are fourteen you can work in:


*retail occupations;
*intellectual or creative work such as computer programming, teaching, tutoring, singing, acting, or playing an instrument;
*errands or delivery work by foot, bicycle and public transportation;
*clean-up and yard work which does not include using power-driven mowers, cutters, trimmers, edgers, or similar equipment;
*work in connection with cars and trucks such as dispensing gasoline or oil and washing or hand polishing;
*some kitchen and food service work including reheating food, washing dishes, cleaning equipment, and limited cooking;
*cleaning vegetables and fruits, wrapping sealing, and labeling, weighing pricing, and stocking of items when performed in areas separate from a freezer or meat cooler;
*loading or unloading objects for use at a worksite including rakes, hand-held clippers, and shovels;
*14 and 15-year-olds who meet certain requirements can perform limited tasks in sawmills and woodshops;

Published by

Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: