Iowa Child Labor Laws


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Iowa 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 Iowa. 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 Iowa child labor law rules and limitations.

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

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

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

  • Volunteer work for a charitable or public purpose.
  • Referees twelve years of age or older working for a charitable organization, a unit of government, or an organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee.
  • The Iowa Summer Youth Corps Program.
  • Any recognized program of the Iowa National Service Corps for children over fourteen.
  • Parent’s business
  • Modeling, acting, or singing

IA Statutes 92 (Child Labor), Iowa Division of Labor – Child Labor


What days can a minor work in Iowa?

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


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

The times during a day a minor may work in Iowa 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, Iowa 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, Iowa child labor laws restrict the times during the day in which they work depending whether they will work when school is in session, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and when school is not in session,7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

AgeSchool in Session
(Labor Day to June 1)
School not in Session
(June 1 to Labor Day)
What times can a 14-year-old work?7 a.m. until 9 p.m.7 a.m. until 11 p.m.
What times can a 15-year-old work?7 a.m. until 9 p.m.7 a.m. until 11 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 Iowa 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 Iowa 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

FLSA, IA Statutes 92 (Child Labor), Iowa Division of Labor – Child Labor


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

Iowa child labor laws do not restrict how many hours 16-years-old and 17-years-olds may work during a workday.

However, under Iowa child labor laws, children that are 14-years-old and 15-years-old may work no more than 6 hours on a day when school is in session and no more than 8 hours on a day when school is out of session.

AgeMax Hours Work Each Day
(School in Session)
Max Hours Work Each Day
(School not in Session)
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?No restrictionNo restriction
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each day?No restrictionNo restriction

Federal child labor laws have more strict rules than Iowa 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

FLSA, IA Statutes 92 (Child Labor), Iowa Division of Labor – Child Labor


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

Iowa child labor laws do not restrict how many hours 16-years-old and 17-years-olds may work during a workweek.

Under Iowa child labor laws, children that are 14-years-old and 15-years-old may work no more than 24 hours a workweek when school is in session and no more than 40 hours a workweek when school is out of session.

Also, like Iowa child labor laws, under federal 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.

Age – Max Hours Worked Each WeekSchool Weeks
(Labor Day to June 1)
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

FLSA, IA Statutes 92 (Child Labor), Iowa Division of Labor – Child Labor


What kinds of jobs can a minor work in Iowa?

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

Retail, food service, and gasoline service establishmentsErrand and delivery work by foot, bicycle, or public transportationWrapping, sealing, labeling, weighing, pricing, and stocking goods
Office and clerical work, including operation of office machinesCleanup work, including vacuum cleaners and floor waxers, and maintenance of groundsLoading and unloading from motor vehicles non-power-driven hand tools and personal protective equipment that the minor will use as part of their employment
Cashiering, selling, modeling, artwork, advertising departments, window trimming, and comparative shoppingKitchen work and other work involved in preparing and serving food and beverages, including cleaning using kitchen cleaning products with PPE.Laundering
Price marking and tagging, assembling orders, packing, and shelvingFor motor vehicles and trucks: dispensing gasoline and oil, courtesy service, car cleaning, car washing, and car polishingRemoval of off-type plants and corn tassels and hand-pollinating from June 1 through Labor Day
Bagging and carrying out customers’ ordersCleaning vegetables and fruits

In Iowa, youth 15 years old and older may work in the following jobs.

Loading and unloading non-power-driven equipment into motor vehicles (up to 30 pounds)Loading and unloading groceries and other retail items into motor vehicles (up to 30 pounds)Stocking shelves (up to 30 pounds)Lifeguard and swim instructor

Under the Iowa 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

Youth who are 16 or 17 years old may obtain a waiver to work in some hazardous occupations if they participate in approved work-based learning or a work-related program.

FLSA, IA Statutes 92 (Child Labor), Iowa Division of Labor – Child Labor


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

Iowa child labor laws do not require teens to a have work permit to work in Iowa. This includes teens who are 14- and 15-year-olds. Iowa Division of Labor – Child Labor

An employer may request an minor to provide an age certificate 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 the IA Div. of Labor.


Can youth have a job where they serve alcohol?

Under Iowa child labor laws, 16 and 17 year olds may work a job that includes selling and serving alcohol in restaurants. A restaurant is defined as “an eating establishment which offers food to the public, guests, or employees, including the kitchen and catering facilities in which food is prepared on the premises for serving elsewhere, and including a bar area within a restaurant.” 16 and 17-year-olds cannot sell or serve alcohol in bars. Iowa Division of Labor – Child Labor, IA Alcoholic Beverages Division


Are youth workers entitled to rest breaks or meal breaks?

In Iowa, 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.

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