Kentucky Labor Laws for Minors

by Tom Streissguth - Updated September 26, 2017
Teenage boy cleaning stable

Under Kentucky law, minors between the ages of 14 and 17 may work limited hours. The law sets slightly different guidelines over summer and during the school year, and in some cases requires written permission from parents or legal guardians, as well as school principals. In addition, Kentucky child labor law restricts occupations for minors, as well as the work equipment a minor can use. Once a minor reaches the age of 18, the state's adult labor laws go into effect.

Allowable Daily Work Schedule

The labor laws in Kentucky set down rules on the time of day a minor child may work. For employees aged 14 and 15, the work day may start as early as 7 a.m., and may go no later than 7 p.m. Between June 1 and Labor Day, quitting time may be as late as 9 p.m. This age group may not work during school hours. For those aged 16 and 17, start time may be no earlier than 6 a.m., while the work day must end by 10:30 p.m. before a school day, and 1 a.m. on other days.

Maximum Daily and Weekly Hours

The limits on daily and weekly hours depend on whether school is in session or out of session. A 14- or 15-year old can work no more than three hours on a school day and eight on a non-school day. Weekly hours are limited to 18 when school's in session. When school's out for summer vacations or holidays, the limit is eight hours per day, 40 hours per week. Children aged 16 or 17 are limited to six hours a day on a school day, eight hours on a non-school day, and 30 hours weekly when school's in session. There are no maximum hours for this age group when school's out.

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Restricted Occupations for Minors

Kentucky law bars all minors from certain occupations, including construction and excavation, mining operations, sawmills, breweries and distilleries, the manufacturing or storing of explosives, meatpacking, demolition and roofing. Also, work in a pool hall is off limits to Kentucky minors. The law does make an exception for coal mining for minors 16 and 17, and for apprentices training in some of these fields.

Limited Use of Equipment

The state restricts the use of certain hazardous equipment, including forklifts and hoisting machines, power saws, paper balers and compactors, bakery machines such as mixers. Minors may not be employed as drivers, and they may not be exposed to radioactive substances. Employers wishing to hire a minor must have proof of age, as shown in a passport-driver's license or other government-issued ID.

About the Author

Founder/president of the innovative reference publisher The Archive LLC, Tom Streissguth has been a self-employed business owner, independent bookseller and freelance author in the school/library market. Holding a bachelor's degree from Yale, Streissguth has published more than 100 works of history, biography, current affairs and geography for young readers.

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