Rhode Island Child Labor Laws


Rhode Island stamp

Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island. 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 Rhode Island child labor law rules and limitations.

How old do you have to be to work in Rhode Island?

Under Rhode Island child labor laws, youth must be 14-years-old or older to get a job and work in Rhode Island with a few exceptions. RI Statutes 28-3-1 to 28-3-32, RI Department of Labor and Training – Child Labor Laws


What days can a minor work in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island child labor laws do not limit the days of the week youth may work in Rhode Island. However, Rhode Island rules limit the times during a day a minor may work. RI Statutes 28-3-1 to 28-3-32, RI Department of Labor and Training – Child Labor Laws


What times during the day can a minor work in Rhode Island?

The times during a day a minor may work in Rhode Island 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, Rhode Island child labor laws restrict the times during the day in which they work depending whether they will work the day before a school day, 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., day before a non-school day, 6 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., or during school vacation during which there are not time restrictions.

AgeSchool in Session
Day before a school day
School in Session
Day before a non-school day
School Vacation
What times can a 16-year-old work?6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.6 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.No restriction
What times can a 17-year-old work?6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.6 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.No restriction

For youth that are 14-years-old and 15-years old, Rhode Island child labor laws restrict the times during the day in which they work depending whether school is in session, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., or school is not in session, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

AgeSchool WeeksSchool Vacation
What times can a 14-year-old work?6 a.m. until 7 p.m.6 a.m. until 9 p.m.
What times can a 15-year-old work?6 a.m. until 7 p.m.6 a.m. until 9 p.m.

RI Statutes 28-3-1 to 28-3-32, RI Department of Labor and Training – Child Labor Laws

The FLSA also restricts the times youth may work each workday. When the federal child labor laws are more restrictive than Rhode Island laws, the federal rules apply.

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 Rhode Island?

Moreover, under Rhode Island child labor laws, children that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old may work no more than 9 hours per workday with 9 3/5 hours per day for a 5-day workweek.

Max Hours Work Each DayWorkday5-day work week
How many hours can a 16-year-old work each day?99 3/5
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each day?99 3/5

Moreover, under Rhode Island child labor laws, children that are 14-years-old and 15-years-old may work no more than 8 hours on a school day and 8 hours on a non-school day.

Max Hours Work Each DaySchool daysNon-school days
How many hours can a 14-year-old work each day?88
How many hours can a 15-year-old work each day?88

RI Statutes 28-3-1 to 28-3-32, RI Department of Labor and Training – Child Labor Laws

The FLSA also restricts the how many hours a youth may work each workday. When the federal child labor laws are more restrictive than Rhode Island laws, the federal rules apply.

Max Hours Work Each DaySchool daysNon-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 Rhode Island?

For youth that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old, Rhode Island child labor laws do not restrict how many hours they may work in a workweek, except an employer may not require a minor to work when the minor is supposed to be in school.

Moreover, under Rhode Island child labor laws, children that are 14-years-old and 15-years-old may work no more than 3 hours on a school day and 8 hours on a non-school day.

Max Hours Worked Each WorkweekSchool Weeks
(Labor Day to June 1)
Non-School Weeks
(June 1 to Labor Day)
How many hours can a 14-year-old work each day?4040
How many hours can a 15-year-old work each day?4040
How many hours can a 16-year-old work each day?4848
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each day?4848

RI Statutes 28-3-1 to 28-3-32, RI Department of Labor and Training – Child Labor Laws

The FLSA also restricts the how many hours a youth may work each workweek. When Rhode Island child labor laws are more restrictive than the federal laws, the Rhode Island rules apply. Similarly, when federal child labor laws are more restrictive than Rhode Island laws, the federal rules apply.

Max Hours Worked Each Workweek
Federal 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?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 Rhode Island?

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

Office and clerical work, including operation of office machinesCashiering, selling, modeling art work, work in advertising departments, window trimming and comparative shoppingPrice marketing and tagging by hand or by machine, assembling orders, packing and shelving
Bagging and carrying out customers’ ordersErrand and delivery work by foot, bicycle and public transportCleanup work, including the use of vacuum cleaners and non-commercial floor waxers, and maintenance of grounds, but not including the use of power-driven mowers or cutters
Kitchen work and other work involved in preparing and serving food and beverages, including the operation of machines and devices used in the performance of such work, such as, dishwashers, toasters, dumbwaiters, popcorn poppers and milkshake blendersCleaning vegetables and fruits, and wrapping, sealing, labeling, weighing, pricing and stocking goods when performed in areas physically separate from areas where meat is prepared for sale, and from outside freezers or meat coolers.

In Rhode Island, youth under 16 years old may not work in the following jobs, except as part of a regular work-training program.

operating any of the following machines: circular or bandsaws, wood shapers, wood jointers, planers, sand paper or wood polishing machinerypicker machines or machines used in picking wool, cotton, fur, hair, or any upholstering materialpaper lace machines
burnishing machines in any tannery or leather manufactoryjob or cylinder printing presses, having motive power other than footwood turning or boring machinery
stamping machines used in sheet metal or tinware manufacturing or in washer and nut factoriesmachines used in making corrugated rollssteam boilers, dough brakes, or cracker machinery of any description
wire or iron straightening machineryrolling mill machinery, power punches, shears, or rolls in rubber manufacturing drop presseswashing, grinding, or mixing machinery
calender rolls in rubber manufacturinglaundering or dry cleaning machineryin any capacity in adjusting or assisting in adjusting any belt to any machinery or in oiling or cleaning machinery in motion
in any capacity in preparing any composition in which dangerous or poisonous acids are usedin the manufacture or packing of paints, dry colors, or red or white leadin dipping, dyeing, or packing matches; or in the manufacture, packing, or storing of powder, dynamite, nitroglycerine compounds, fuses, or other explosives
in stripping, assorting, manufacturing or packing tobaccoin a tunnelin a pool or billiard room
upon any railroad, whether steam or electricin any foundryin any place where dangerous belting or gearing is not provided with proper safeguards
on any docks, private or public, warehouses and storage rooms; dispensing gasoline or other types of fuel, checking or changing of oil or other fluids, parking lot attendants; car washes either by hand or machine (including drying vehicles by hand.)in any work, occupation, place, or process declared by the department of labor and training to be injurious, dangerous, or hazardous for minors under sixteen (16) years of age

In Rhode Island, youth under 18 years old may not work in the following jobs except when serving a voluntary apprenticeship.

Production and storage of explosivesCoal miningLogins and saw milling
Power-driven woodworking machinesExposure to radioactive substancesPower-driven hoisting apparatuses
Power-driven metal-forming, punching and shearing machinesSlaughtering or meat packing, processing or rendingPower-driven meat slicer
Power-driven bakery machinesManufacturing brick, tile and kindred productsPower-driven circular saws, band saws and guillotine shears
Wrecking demolition and ship breaking operationsRoofing operationsExcavation operations

RI Statutes 28-3-1 to 28-3-32, RI Department of Labor and Training – Child Labor Laws

Under the FLSA, youth under 18 years old may not work in the following hazardous jobs except when serving a voluntary apprenticeship, work-training program, or student-learner program.


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

Rhode Island child labor laws require employers to fill out an Intention to Employ a Minor form for each 14-15 year old workers plan to hire.

Also, teens who are 14 or 15 years old must fill out a Special Limited Permit to Work form (work permit form). Once the teen fills out the special limited permit to work form, they must present it to the School Department in the city/town where they live along with a copy of a document validating their age (e.g., birth certificate, baptismal certificate, passport, school records, or drivers license). The school department will then issue the special limited permit. The teen must provide a copy of the special limited permit to their employer who must keep the copy in its records.

RI Statutes 28-3-1 to 28-3-32, RI Department of Labor and Training – Child Labor Laws


Are youth workers entitled to rest breaks or meal breaks?

In Rhode Island, employers with 3 or more employees, are required to provide minors with a unpaid meal period lasting 20 minutes or more if they work 6 consecutive hours in a shift or 30 minutes or more if they work 8 consecutive hours in a shift. RI Statutes 28-3-1 to 28-3-32, RI Department of Labor and Training – Child Labor Laws

Employment Law Updates
Laws change in a moment. Sign up to stay informed.
Employment Law Updates
Laws change in a moment. Sign up to stay informed.

Have employees in more than one state? SUBSCRIBE HERE!

Have employees in more than one state? SUBSCRIBE HERE!