Illinois Child Labor Laws


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Illinois child labor laws set forth the rules and limitations regarding the days and time children under the age of 18 years old may work in Illinois. 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 Illinois child labor law rules and limitations.

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

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

There are a few exceptions for children under the age 14. For example, minors who are 13 years or older may work as a caddy at a golf course. Also, 12 and 13 year olds may work as officials at youth sports activities for not-for-profit youth clubs, park districts, or municipal park and recreation departments. There are also some exception for children who are 13 years or younger in family businesses and agricultural settings. IL Statute 820 ILCS 205/


What days can a minor work in Illinois?

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


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

The times during a day a minor may work in Illinois 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. Also, businesses cannot require minors to work more than six days in a workweek.

For youth that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old, Illinois 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, Illinois child labor laws restrict 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 Illinois?

Under Illinois child labor laws, children that are 14-years-old and 15-years-old may work no more than 8 hours in a work day when combining school and work hours. For example, if a 15-year-old goes to school for 7 hours one day, they could only work 1 hour on that day.

Under Illinois child labor laws, children that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old are not restricted regarding how many hours they may work in a work day.

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 Illinois?

Under Illinois child labor laws, 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.

Under Illinois child labor laws, children that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old are not restricted regarding how many hours they may work in a work week.

AgeMax Hours Worked Each Week
School Weeks
(Labor Day to June 1)
Max Hours Worked Each Week
Non-School Weeks
(June 1 to Labor Day)
How many hours can a 14-year-old work each week?1840
How many hours can a 15-year-old work each week?1840
How many hours can a 16-year-old work each week?No restrictionNo restriction
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each week?No restrictionNo restriction

What kinds of jobs can a minor work in Illinois?

Under Illinois 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. IL Department of Labor – Child Labor Law FAQ

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

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

Illinois child labor laws prohibits employers from hiring 14- and 15-year-olds without an employment certificate (employment permit). Business may employ youth who are 16- and 17-years-old without an employment certificate.

For 14- and 15-year-olds, they must take for following steps:

  • Obtain a letter of intent to hire, which includes the proposed work hours, from their prospective employer.
  • The teen or their parent must then present the letter to the teen’s school or school district to the the certificate issuing officer.

The certificate issuing officer will review the letter and issue the work permit if they deem it is appropriate. IL Department of Labor – Child Labor Law FAQ


Do Illinois have special child labor laws for child performers or vloggers?

Illinois child labor laws have special child law rules for child performers and actors. More information about the regulations for child actors and performers can be found in IL Administrative Code Section 250.302.

Illinois child labor laws also have special rules about record keeping hours worked for child vloggers. IL Statute 820 ILCS 205/


Are youth workers entitled to rest breaks or meal breaks?

In Illinois, employers are required to provide minors with a unpaid meal period lasting 30 minutes or more if the minor works 5 consecutive hours in a shift. IL Department of Labor – Child Labor Law FAQ


Who do you contact if you believe a business is violating child labor laws?

If a teen or their parent believes an employer has violated Illinois’ child labor laws, they may file a complain with the IL Department of Labor.

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