What's the Minimum Legal Age to Work in Colorado?

Even Children Can Perform Duties for Hire

Male teenage caddy (13-15) giving golf club to man
Getty Images/Alan Thornton

If you live in Colorado and need some extra cash to pay for dates, to buy your favorite new video game or get your first car, don't start looking for a job without first learning the minimum age you must be to work in the state. Colorado is pretty lenient. It allows juveniles of all ages to work in some capacities.

How Old Must You Be to Work in Colorado?

Federal child labor laws require that a minor be at least 14 years old before he can work, and that's generally the case in Colorado.

There are some exceptions, however. For example, 9-year-olds can deliver handbills, advertising and advertising samples. They can work as shoeshiners, gardeners and golf caddies. Twelve-year-olds can also perform these jobs, but they can also sell newspapers and other merchandise. They can babysit and perform agricultural work.

Child labor laws in each state have a unique minimum age to work and requirements for permits. When federal and state laws disagree, the more stringent law applies. Before children begin working in jobs that are age appropriate for them, it is important to review the local rules and restrictions. Here is an overview of the requirements for children to work in Colorado.

Certificates Needed to Work

Colorado state law requires that youths under age 16 obtain a child employment certificate. These are provided by schools. Workers under age 18 will be provided with an age certificate by request, but it's not required under Colorado state law.

Age certificates will not be issued to minors under age 16 during school hours.

What Can Teen Workers Do?

Teens have a number of options available to them in the workforce. They can do all the jobs that younger juveniles can do, as well as work as public messengers, elevator operators, janitors, office workers, car washers, cashiers, models, packers, stockers, baggers and more.

But they cannot operate power-driven tools or work under hazardous conditions. Sixteen-year-olds may perform all the same functions, but they may also drive as part of their jobs. When teens turn 18, they are no longer subject to child labor laws. They're legally considered legal adults.

How Many Hours Can Minors Work?

Minors cannot work more than 40 hours per week or more than eight hours per day. Teens under 16 may not work more than three hours on school days. During school hours, minors under age 16 can't work without a school release permit. Superintendents of the school district where youths are enrolled can issue the permits.

Young workers under age 16 can work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the school year and until 9 p.m. during summer months. Older teens or youth who work as actors, models or performers don't have to adhere to these hours.

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