Colorado Child Labor Laws


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Colorado child labor laws, called that The Colorado Youth Employment Opportunity Act (“CYEOA”), set forth the rules and limitations regarding the days and time children under the age of 18 years old may work in Colorado. They also clarify and limit the types of work children under the age of 14 and youth who are 14, 15, 16, and 17 year olds may work. It is also important to remember that businesses and youth workers must comply with the federal child labor laws set forth in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Below is information about Colorado child labor law rules and limitations.

How old do you have to be to work in Colorado?

Under Colorado child labor laws, youth must be 14-years-old or older to get a job and work in Colorado with a few exceptions.

There are a few exceptions for children under the age 14. The exemptions for all children include:

  • Newspaper carriers
  • Actors, models, and performers
  • School work and supervised educational activities
  • Home chores
  • Work done for a parent or guardian unless the parent or guardian receives payment for the work

Colorado child labor laws also permit minors who are 9 years old or older to work doing:

  • Delivery of handbills, advertising, and advertising samples.
  • Shoe shining.
  • Gardening and care of lawns involving no power-driven lawn equipment.
  • Cleaning of walks involving no power-driven snow-removal equipment.
  • Casual work usual to the home of the employer and not specifically prohibited.
  • Caddying on golf courses.
  • Occupations similar to the above.

Colorado child labor laws also permit minors who are 12 years old or older to work doing:

  • Sale and delivery of periodicals.
  • Door-to-door selling and delivery of
    merchandise.
  • Baby-sitting.
  • Gardening and care of lawns, and cleaning
    of walks; contact the Division regarding
    use of power-driven equipment.
  • Non-hazardous agricultural work.
  • Occupations similar to the above.

CO Statute § 8-12-101 – 117 (CYEOA), CO Department of Labor – Child Labor FAQ


What days can a minor work in Colorado?

Colorado child labor laws do not limit the days of the week youth may work in Colorado. However, Colorado rules limit the times during a day a minor may work.


What times during the day can a minor work in Colorado?

The times during a day a minor may work in Colorado varies based on 1) whether they are under 16 year old or not, and 2) whether the work will be during school weeks or non-school weeks.

For youth that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old, Colorado child labor laws do not restrict the times during a workday in which they may work, except an employer may not require a minor to work when the minor is supposed to be in school.

For youth that are 14-years-old and 15-years old, Colorado child labor laws restrict the times during the day in which they work to times are during 5 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

AgeSchool Weeks
(Labor Day to June 1)
Non-School Weeks
(June 1 to Labor Day)
What times can a 14-year-old work?5 a.m. until 9:30 p.m.5 a.m. until 9:30 p.m.
What times can a 15-year-old work?5 a.m. until 9:30 p.m.5 a.m. until 9:30 p.m.
What times can a 16-year-old work?No restrictionNo restriction
What times can a 17-year-old work?No restrictionNo restriction

Unlike Colorado that does not have different times during a day when they may work based on whether it is during school weeks or during non-school weeks, federal child labor laws do. Because the federal rules are more restrictive, employers and youth in Colorado must comply with the time restriction. The FLSA restricts the times during the day in which they work depending whether the times are during school weeks, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or non-school weeks, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

AgeSchool Weeks
(Labor Day to June 1)
Non-School Weeks
(June 1 to Labor Day)
What times can a 14-year-old work?7 a.m. until 7 p.m.7 a.m. until 9 p.m.
What times can a 15-year-old work?7 a.m. until 7 p.m.7 a.m. until 9 p.m.
What times can a 16-year-old work?No restrictionNo restriction
What times can a 17-year-old work?No restrictionNo restriction

How many hours can a minor work each day in Colorado?

Under Colorado child labor laws, minors cannot work more than 8 hours in a 24-hour period. This includes teens who are 16 years old and 17 years old.

Moreover, under Colorado child labor laws, children that are 14-years-old and 15-years-old may work no more than 6 hours on a day when the follow day with be a school day. If the following day is not a school day, 14-years-old and 15-years-old may work no more than 8 hours on a day

AgeMax Hours Work Each Day
(Follow day is a school day)
Max Hours Work Each Day
(Follow day is not a school day)
How many hours can a 14-year-old work each day?68
How many hours can a 15-year-old work each day?68
How many hours can a 16-year-old work each day?88
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each day?88

Federal child labor laws have more strict rules than Colorado regarding the number of hours 14 and 15 year olds can work in a work day. Businesses and teens must comply with the stricter rule for school days set forth by the federal FLSA.

AgeMax Hours Work Each Day
(School days)
Max Hours Work Each Day
(Non-school days)
How many hours can a 14-year-old work each day?38
How many hours can a 15-year-old work each day?38
How many hours can a 16-year-old work each day?No restrictionNo restriction
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each day?No restrictionNo restriction

How many hours can a minor work each week in Colorado?

Under Colorado child labor laws, minors may work no more than 40 hours in a workweek. This covers 14, 15, 16, and 17 year olds and does not change regardless of whether the children are in school or out of school. This is different from the federal law that does not have an daily hours worked restriction for 16 and 17 year olds.

Also, under federal child labor laws, however, children that are 14-years-old and 15-years-old may work no more than 24 hours in a workweek during school weeks and 48 hours during non-school weeks.

Age – Max Hours Worked Each WeekColorado LawFederal Law
School Weeks
(Labor Day to June 1)
Federal Law
Non-School Weeks
(June 1 to Labor Day)
How many hours can a 14-year-old work each week?401840
How many hours can a 15-year-old work each week?401840
How many hours can a 16-year-old work each week?40No restrictionNo restriction
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each week?40No restrictionNo restriction

What kinds of jobs can a minor work in Colorado?

In Colorado, youth 14 years old and older may work in the following jobs.

Non-hazardous occupations in manufacturingJanitorial and custodial service, including the operation of vacuum cleaners and floor waxersNon-hazardous construction and non-hazardous repair work
Public messenger service and errands by foot, bicycle, and public transportationOffice work and clerical work, including the operation of office equipmentOccupations in retail food service
Operation of automatic enclosed freight and passenger elevatorsWarehousing and storage, including unloading and loading of vehiclesOccupations 9 year olds may work (see above)

Permissible retail food service occupations include:

CashieringWindow trimmingBagging and carrying out customers’ orders
SellingPrice marking by hand or machineOccupations in restaurants, hotels, motels, or other public accommodations.
ModelingAssembling ordersOccupations related to parks or recreation including, but not limited to, recreation aides and conservation projects
Art workPacking and shelvingAny other similar occupation
Work in advertising departments

Youth who are 14 year old and older may also work in gasoline service establishment occupations which include:

Dispensing gasoline, oil, and other consumer itemsCar cleaning, washing, and polishingChanging tires
Courtesy serviceThe use of hoists (where supervised)

Under the Colorado child labor laws and/or the FLSA child labor laws, employees under 18 years old may not work in jobs that are considered hazardous. Here is a list of the jobs that are considered hazardous.

In, about or in conjunction with any public messenger or deliver service, bowling alley, pool room, billiard room, skating rink (except an ice skating rink owned and operated by a school or unit of local government); exhibition park or place of amusement, garage or as a bell boy in any hotel or rooming house or about or in connection with power-driver machinery.In the operation of machinery used in the cold rolling of heavy metal stock, or in the operation of power-driven punching, shearing, stamping or meta [late pending machinesIn oil refineries, gasoline blending plants or pumping stations on oil transmission linesIn logging operations
In the oiling, cleaning or wiling of machinery or shaftingIn or about sawmills or lath, shingle or cooperage stock millsIn operation of laundry, dry cleaning or dying machineryIn public and private utilities and related services
In or about any mine or quarryIn the operation of power driven woodworking machines or off bearing from circular sawsIn occupations involving exposure to radioactive substancesIn operations in or in connection with slaughtering, meat packing, poultry processing and fish and seafood processing
In stone cutting or polishingIn the operation of freight elevators or hoisting machines and cranesIn or about any filling station or service stationIn operations which involve working on an elevated surface, with or without use of equipment, including but not limited to ladders and scaffolds
In or about any hazardous factory workIn spray painting or in occupations involving exposure to lead or its compounds or to dangerous or poisonous dyes or chemicalsIn construction work, including demolition and repairIn security positions or any occupation that requires the use or carrying of a firearm or other weapon
In or about any plant manufacturing explosives or articles containing explosive components, in the use of transportation of sameIn any place or establishment in which intoxicating alcoholic liquors are served or sold for consumption on the premises, or in which such liquors are manufactured or bottled; except as follows:In roofing operationsIn occupations which involve the handling or storage of blood, blood products, body fluids or body tissue
In or about plants manufacturing iron or steel, ore reduction works, smelters, foundries, forging shops, hot rolling mills or any place in which the heating melting or heat treating of metals is carried on– busboy and kitchen employment, not otherwise prohibited, when in connection with the service of meals at any private club, fraternal organization or veteran’s organization shall not be prohibited by this subsection;
– this subsection 13 does not apply to employment that is performed on property owned or operated by a park district, as defined in subsection (a) of Section 1-3 of the Park District Code, if the employment is not otherwise prohibited by law;
In excavating operations

FLSA, CO Statute § 8-12-101 – 117 (CYEOA), CO Department of Labor – Child Labor FAQ


Does a teen need to have a work permit or certificate to work in Colorado?

Colorado child labor laws do not require teens to a have work permit to work in Colorado. This includes teens who are 14- and 15-year-olds.

An employer may request an minor to provide an age certificate to before they will hire the minor. The age certificate helps the employer ensure the minor is at least 14 years old. A teen may obtain an age certificate by contacting their school or the school superintendent of the district or county in which the applicant resides who may issue the certificate.

CO Department of Labor – Child Labor FAQ


Are youth workers entitled to rest breaks or meal breaks?

In Colorado, employers are required to provide all employees, including employees under the 18 years of age, with meal and rest breaks. For more information, visit our Colorado Labor Laws page.

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