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, buy your favorite new video game or get your first car, don't start your job search without first learning the minimum age you must be to work in the state. Colorado allows juveniles of all ages to work in some capacities.

How Old Must One Be to Work in Colorado?

Federal child labor laws state that the minimum age to work is 14, and that's generally the case in Colorado, although there are some exceptions.

For example, 9-year-olds can deliver handbills, advertising, and advertising samples. They can also work as shoeshiners, gardeners and golf caddies. Twelve-year-olds may also perform such jobs, but they can also sell newspapers, merchandise, babysit and perform agricultural work.

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

Certificates Needed to Work

Colorado state law requires youth under age 16 to obtain a child employment certificate. Employment certificates are provided by the school. In addition, young workers under age 18 will be provided with an age certificate by request, but it is 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 of the jobs that younger juveniles can do as well as work as public messengers, elevator operators, janitors, office workers, car washers, cashiers, models, packers, shelvers, baggers and more.

That said, they may not operate power-driven tools or work in hazardous conditions. Sixteen-year-olds may perform all of the same functions, but they may also drive as part of their job. When teens turn 18, they are no longer subject to child labor laws but considered legal adults.

How Much Can Minors Work?

Minors may not 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 youth are enrolled issue the permits.

Young workers under 16 can work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the school year, but during summer months, they may work until 9 p.m. 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.