Summer employment laws for teen workers


Wage and Hour Bulletin

June 2022

A worker working inside a food truck.

Summer employment laws for teen workers

As the temperatures heat up and the school year winds down, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) reminds employers of the wage and hour laws that apply to teens and how these laws change during the summer. 

There are both state and federal laws that restrict the number of hours teens can work and prohibit certain hazardous work activities. These laws ensure teens can prioritize school and prevent injuries as they integrate into the world of work. 

During the school year, minors 15 and under may not work during school hours. Employers should be aware that, even during the summer, minors 15 and under can only work between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. and may not work more than eight hours a day or more than 40 hours a week. 

High school students age 16 and 17 may not work later than 11 p.m. on a school night or start work earlier than 5 a.m. on a school day without a parental note. Those minors can work until 11:30 p.m. or start work at 4:30 a.m. with a parental note. However, during the summer, there are no restrictions on how late or how many hours in a day or week minors age 16 and 17 may work. 

Summer means the opening of patios and rooftops in Minnesota, and DLI wants to remind employers about the restrictions against minors serving liquor. All minors are prohibited from working in rooms where intoxicating liquors are served and are prohibited from any task involving the serving, dispensing and handling of such liquors. 

However, minors age 16 and older may perform busing, dishwashing or hosting duties where liquor is incidental to food preparation. 

Violations of minors serving liquor are serious and include employer penalties, including a $1,000 fine for each minor involved. For example, if an employer had four 15-year-old employees busing tables in a bar and grill, that employer could be penalized $4,000. 

Under no circumstances can a minor serve liquor. A recent DLI investigation found the owner of a bar and grill had a minor employee serve a drink containing liquor. This investigation also found the employer did not have the minor’s proof of age on file. Employers are required to keep a valid proof of age on file for all minor workers. Acceptable proof includes a driver’s license or valid state ID, birth certificate or I-9 form. This investigation resulted in a $1,250 penalty being assessed against the employer. 

DLI is here to help employers and workers understand their workplace rights and responsibilities. For more information about child labor laws, visit

Federal law may also apply to the employment of a minor. For more information about federal child labor laws, contact the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

Animated workers and text about applying for Frontline Worker Pay.

Frontline Worker Pay

The Frontline Worker Pay application is open through July 22, 2022. Eligible workers have 45 days to apply for Frontline Worker Pay. Applicant support is available to assist applicants in multiple languages. 

Other resources, including more than two dozen frequently asked questions, are answered and available in English, Hmong, Somali and Spanish. 

The Frontline Worker Pay law requires that employers in a frontline sector provide notice by June 23, 2022, advising all current workers who may be eligible for Frontline Worker Pay of the assistance potentially available to them and how to apply for benefits. Download the notice at 

Help spread the word about Frontline Worker Pay! Find additional information and resources, including an information sheet available in 21 languages, at 


Labor Standards serves the people of Minnesota by providing
information about the state's wage, hour and employment laws.

Phone:  651-284-5075 or 800-342-5354