Hot Topic: Employment of Minors in Ohio

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

Ohio has very specific laws in place by which employers must abide to employ minors. The law includes provisions on the age at which minors may be employed, administrative requirements that must be met prior to employment of a minor, the hours minors are permitted to work, prohibited occupations, as well as posting and record keeping requirements. It is critical for employers to understand their obligations to avoid the costly consequences of non-compliance, which may include both monetary and criminal penalties.

Key provisions that employers must be aware of include:

  1. DEFINITION: A Minor is a person under the age of 18.

  2. WORKING PERMITS: Every minor 14 through 17 years of age must have a work permit, unless a specific exception applies. Parents and the school must consent to the proposed employment.

  3. WRITTEN WAGE AGREEMENT: Employers may not employ a minor without providing a written document that shows the wages or compensation the minor will receive for each day, week, month, year or per piece for work performed.

  4. REST PERIOD: Employers must provide each minor employee a 30-minute rest period for more than 5 consecutive hours worked.

  5. LIST OF MINORS EMPLOYED: Employer must keep a list of minors employed at each establishment and a list must be posted in a conspicuous place to which all minor employees have access.

  6. TIME RECORDS: Every employer must keep a time book or other written record showing actual starting and stopping time of each work and rest period. These records must be kept for a minimum of two (2) years.

  7. POSTING: A summary of Ohio employment of minors laws must be posted in a conspicuous place to which all minor employees have access.

Ohio provides for specific restrictions on hours of employment for minors:

14 and 15 Years of Age are not allowed to work:

  • More than 3 hours per day on a school day;

  • After 7 p.m. during the school year. Minors are permitted to work until 9 p.m. during breaks from school that lasts more than 5 days;

  • Before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m. during breaks from school that lasts more than 5 days;

  • More than 18 hours in any school week;

  • More than 8 hours in any day when school is not in session;

  • More than 40 hours in any week that school is not in session;

  • During school hours, unless employment is incidental to bona fide programs of vocational cooperative training, work-study, or other work-oriented programs with the purpose of educating students, and the program meets standards established by the state board of education.

16 and 17 Years of age are not allowed to work:

· Before 7 a.m. on any day that school is in session or 6 a.m. if the person was not employed after 8 p.m. the previous night;

· After 11 p.m. on any night preceding a day that school is in session.

Ohio law prohibits employment of minors in what it considers to be hazardous or detrimental occupations. Restrictions vary by age, but examples include: door-to-door employment, all manufacturing; mining; processing; public messenger service, work in freezers and meat coolers and all preparation of meats for sale (except wrapping, sealing, labeling, weighing, pricing and stocking), transportation; storage; communications; public utilities; construction; repair, work in boiler or engine rooms; maintenance or repair of machinery, outside window washing from window sills or scaffolding and/or ladders, etc.

Certain types of employment are exempt from the application of the laws that cover employment of minors. Examples include:

  • Students participating in a career-technical or STEM program approved by the Ohio department of education;

  • Minors who are employed by their parents in occupations other than occupations prohibited by rule adopted under this chapter;

  • Minors engaged in the delivery of newspapers to the consumer;

  • Minors who have received a high school diploma or a certificate of attendance from an accredited secondary school or a certificate of high school equivalence;

  • Minors who are currently heads of households or are parents contributing to the support of their children;

  • Minors engaged in lawn mowing, snow shoveling, and other related employment.

We help companies understand the legal requirements applicable to their business and implement a program that is compliant and will shield the company from financial exposure, as well as potential criminal liability associated with noncompliance with minor labor laws.

For additional information on this topic, please contact me at or 216-716-7850.