Acceptable Work and Hours for Youth

Acceptable Jobs for Youth

All Ages Under 16

Below is a list of acceptable work for all ages under 16 along with whether a work certificate or work permit is needed:

  • Entertainment industry (work permit needed)
  • For youth over 12 years old, babysitting, newspaper delivery, occasional yard work performed with the parent's consent, coaching, refereeing (no certificate needed)

14-15 Year Olds

Below is a list of acceptable work for 14-15 year olds along with whether a work certificate or work permit is needed:

  • Office/clerical work (work certificate needed)
  • Retail: cashier, price marking, bagging, selling, packing, shelving (work certificate needed)
  • Maintenance/janitorial services - for private residence - (work certificate needed)
  • Food service delivery: preparing/serving food and beverages (work certificate needed)
  • Vehicle cleaning services: polishing and washing (work certificate needed)

Unacceptable Types of Work and Workplaces for Youth

All Ages Under 16

Below is a list of unacceptable work and workplaces for all ages under 16:

  • Door-to-door sales (excluding churches, schools, scouts)
  • Operating hazardous equipment: ladders, scaffolding, freight elevators, cranes, hoisting machines, man lifts, etc.
  • Handling/maintaining power-driven machinery (with the exception of lawn/garden machinery in a domestic setting) (RSMo 294.011(7)(c), and RSMo 294.040(1))
  • Mining, quarrying, or stone cutting/polishing (except in jewelry stores)
  • Transporting or handling Type A and B explosives or ammunition.
  • Operation of any motor vehicle
  • Metal-producing industries including stamping, punching, cold rolling, shearing, or heating
  • Saw mills or cooperage stock (barrel) mills or where woodworking machinery is used. For more information regarding saw mills owned and operated by religious communities, please visit the USDOL.
  • Jobs involving ionizing or non-ionizing radiation or radioactive substances
  • Jobs in hotels, motels, or resorts unless the work performed is physically separated from the sleeping accommodations
  • Jobs in any establishment in which alcoholic beverages are sold, manufactured, bottled or stored unless 50 percent of the workplace sales are generated from other goods
  • Any job dangerous to the life, limb, health, or morals of youth

Door-to-door selling is a consistent problem facing youth in our state. Employment of youth under the age of 16 in any form of door-to-door selling or “street occupation” is prohibited (unless it is on behalf of a school, church, charitable entity (including scouts), or political candidate). If you suspect a child is being subjected to door-to-door sales, please contact the Division of Labor Standards at 573-751-3403.

Work Hours

Acceptable Work Hours: 14 and 15 Years of Age

Labor Day to June 1st
(While School is in Session)

June 1st to Labor Day
(While School is NOT in Session)

7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

7 a.m. to 9 p.m.*

No more than 8 hours on non-school days (weekends or school breaks) and no more than 3 hours on school days

No more than 8 hours on non-school days

No more than 6 days a week

No more than 6 days a week
(40 hours a week)

*In certain circumstances, 14 and 15 year olds may work until 10:30 p.m. if employed at a regional fair between June 1 and Labor Day.

Breaks and Lunch

Missouri law does not require employers to provide employees, including youth workers, a break of any kind, including a lunch hour. These provisions are either left up to the discretion of the employer, can be agreed upon by the employer and employee, or may be addressed by company policy or contract.

The entertainment industry, however, DOES require breaks and rest periods for youth workers. A youth cannot work more than five and one-half hours without a meal break. Additionally, a 15-minute rest period (which counts as work time) is required after each two hours of continuous work for youth in the entertainment industry.


Most employers/businesses* must pay employees, including youth, at least the state minimum wage rate. Tipped employees, such as waiters/waitresses, must be paid at least half of the state minimum wage rate. However, if the tipped employee does not make up the other half of the minimum wage in tips, the employer is required to pay the difference so that the tipped employee is paid the minimum wage. Employers not subject to the minimum wage law can pay employees wages of their choosing. If you have not been paid for work completed, you can file a wage complaint or read more about Owed Wages.
*Employers engaged in retail or service businesses whose annual gross income is less than $500,000 are not required to pay the state minimum wage rate.

Additional federal restrictions regarding minimum wage, child labor laws, and youth employment also may apply.