Wisconsin Child Labor Laws


Wisconsin stamp

Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin. 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 Wisconsin child labor law rules and limitations.

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

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

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

Participation in a court ordered juvenile restitution project at any ageStreet trades for a private nonprofit organization or a private or public school at any age to perform fund raisingPublic Exhibition (theatrical performances, modeling, performing music, or singing) at any age
Employment in domestic or farm work performed outside of school hours in connection with the minor’s own home or the family farm at any age

The exemptions for 12 and 13-year-old children include:

AgricultureCaddies on golf courses (non-motorized carts)Ball monitors at high school football games or practices (as young as 11 permitted)
Street trades (delivering newspapers, selling products door-to-door or on the street)Domestic work in and around the home of the employer if not in connection with or part of a trade or businessOfficial for athletic events sponsored by private, nonprofit organization in which the minor would be eligible to participate or in which the participates are the same age or younger than the minor
Work under direct supervision of minor’s parent or guardian in connection with parent’s or guardian’s business, trade, or profession if minor would otherwise be permitted to work in the same job at age 14Sideline officials at high school football gamesWork in school lunch programs for the school attended by the minor

WI Admin Rules – Child Labor (DWD 270.01 to 270.19), WI Department of Workforce Development – Minors Guide


What days can a minor work in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin child labor laws do not limit the days of the week youth may work in Wisconsin. However, businesses cannot require minors to work more than 6 days in a workweek. Also, Wisconsin rules limit the times during a day a minor may work. WI Admin Rules – Child Labor (DWD 270.01 to 270.19), WI Department of Workforce Development – Minors Guide


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

The times during a day a minor may work in Wisconsin 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, Wisconsin 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. Also, if the 16 and 17-year-old youth will work between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m., they must have direct adult supervision.

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

WI Admin Rules – Child Labor (DWD 270.01 to 270.19), WI Department of Workforce Development – Minors Guide, see also FLSA


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

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

Moreover, under Wisconsin 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 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

WI Admin Rules – Child Labor (DWD 270.01 to 270.19), WI Department of Workforce Development – Minors Guide, see also FLSA


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

For youth that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old, Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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?1840
How many hours can a 15-year-old work each day?1840
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

WI Admin Rules – Child Labor (DWD 270.01 to 270.19), WI Department of Workforce Development – Minors Guide, see also FLSA


What kinds of jobs can a minor work in Wisconsin?

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

dry cleaning or laundry establishments in branch stores where no processing is done on the premisessoda fountainsgatekeepers
hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics where they may be engaged in kitchen work, tray service, or room and hall cleaningrestaurantsconcessions at swimming pools
bowling alleys completely equipped with automatic pin setters, but not in or about such machineshotel and motel food service departmentsconcessionaires operating on beaches where their duties and work pertain to the handling and distribution of beach chairs, umbrellas, floats, and other similar or related beach equipment
on farms, in gardens, or in orchards may perform work as a helper on a truck or commercial vehicle in their employment, while engaged in such work exclusively on a farm, in a garden, or in an orchardin office work of a clerical nature in bona fide office rooms in the otherwise prohibited establishments

In Wisconsin, youth under 16 years old may not work in the following jobs:

Agriculture (certain power-driven equipment and some jobs are prohibited unless employed on own home farm outside school hours for parent or guardian, or on another farm with permission of parent or guardian if primarily for exchange purposes)Operation of any power driven machines (other than office machines)Communications and public utilities work (other than office work)
Airports (in or about landing strip, taxi, or maintenance apron)Personal care of patients in hospitals and nursing homesTransportation of people or property by air, rail, or motor vehicle
Gun clubs (skeet and trap loaders)Work in rooms where manufacturing, processing, storage, or warehousing takes placeStreet carnivals and traveling shows

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

Adult bookstoresUse of bakery machinesErection of or operation of amusement rides at carnivals, amusement parks, ski hills, and traveling shows
Any work with asbestos, actinolite, amosite, anthophyllite, chrysotile, crocidolite, or tremoliteWork in any confined spaceMining
Operation, set-up, or cleaning of meat and food slicersExcavations involving a trench four feet deep or greaterAny work in a facility that manufactures or stores explosives
Selling, serving, dispensing or giving away liquorSet-up, operation, or cleaning of power driven metal forming; punching or shearing machineryOperation of motor vehicle on public roads as a regular job duty
Any work with radioactive substances and ionizing radiationsOperation of power driven circular saws, band saws, chain saws or guillotine shearsRoofing operations
Slaughtering, meat packing, processing or renderingAny work at an employer experiencing a strike or lockout or participating as a picketer in a strike or lockoutWork in logging, including sawmill, lath mill, shingle mill or cooperage-stock mill operation
Cleaning, set-up or operation of most power driven woodworking machinesAny work involving wrecking, demolition or shipbreaking

WI Admin Rules – Child Labor (DWD 270.01 to 270.19), WI Department of Workforce Development – Minors Guide, see also FLSA


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

Wisconsin child labor laws require 12, 13, 14, and 15 year old workers to obtain an work permit. Youth may submit an employment certificate application the Wisconsin’s Work Permits application site. Before a youth applies for an employment certificate, they must have a firm job offer from an employer. Also, a youth’s parent or guardian must participate in the work permit application process.


Are youth workers entitled to rest breaks or meal breaks?

In Wisconsin, employers are required to provide minors with a unpaid meal period lasting 30 minutes or more if the minor works 6 consecutive hours in a shift. Also the meal period should provided near the usual times of 6 a.m., 12 p.m., 6 p.m., and 12 a.m. WI Admin Rules – Child Labor (DWD 270.01 to 270.19), WI Department of Workforce Development

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!