Work Hour Limitations for Youths

Rules for 14- and 15-year-olds

These youth may be employed:

  • No more than three hours a day when school is in session for the youth and no more than eight hours a day if school is not in session.
  • Only between 7 a.m and 7 p.m. (9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day when school is not in session).
  • A maximum of 18 hours per week when school is in session or 40 hours per week when school is not in session.
  • Only outside school hours.
  • A 30-minute break is required after any period of five consecutive hours of work.

Rules for 16- and 17-year-olds

  • During the school term, youth who are enrolled in grades 12 or lower cannot be employed between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. when there is school for the youth the next day.
  • Exception: When the employer gets written permission from the youth’s parents and principal.

Job Limitations

  • Youths less than 14 years of age: Work is generally not permitted for youths under 14 years of age except when working for the youth’s parents, in home delivery of newspapers, or in modeling or acting in a movie or theater production.
  • Youths 14-15 years of age: Work may be performed in retail businesses, food service establishments, service stations and offices of other businesses. Work is not permitted in manufacturing, mining, on construction sites, with power-driven machinery, on the premise of a business holding an ABC permit for the on-premises sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages, or in hazardous or detrimental occupations.
  • Youths 16-17 years of age: Work in hazardous/detrimental occupations is not permitted.

For more information about workplace rights, please contact our toll free number at 1-800-NC-LABOR (800-625-2267).