Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

CHAPTER 181A. CHILD LABOR

Table of Sections
SectionHeadnote
181A.01CITATION.
181A.02PURPOSE.
181A.03DEFINITIONS.
181A.04MINIMUM AGE AND MAXIMUM HOURS.
181A.05EMPLOYMENT CERTIFICATES.
181A.06AGE CERTIFICATES.
181A.07EXEMPTIONS.
181A.08POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT.
181A.09POWER TO MAKE RULES.
181A.10JUDICIAL REVIEW.
181A.11AGRICULTURAL EMPLOYMENT.
181A.12PENALTIES.
181A.01 CITATION.
Sections 181A.01 to 181A.12 may be cited as the "Child Labor Standards Act."
History: 1974 c 432 s 1
181A.02 PURPOSE.
The purpose of sections 181A.01 to 181A.12 is to aid in the economic, social and educational
development of young people through employment. Work is an integral factor in providing a
sense of purpose, direction, and self-esteem necessary to the overall physical and mental health of
an individual. Young people, especially those who have completed high school or occupational
training, should not be denied employment opportunities. Work, however, must be coordinated
with schooling and safety considerations in order to serve the best interest of the young.
History: 1974 c 432 s 2
181A.03 DEFINITIONS.
    Subdivision 1. General. As used in sections 181A.01 to 181A.12, the terms defined in this
section shall have the following meanings.
    Subd. 2. Department. "Department" means the Minnesota Department of Labor and
Industry.
    Subd. 3. Division. "Division" means the Division of Labor Standards within the department.
    Subd. 4. Commissioner. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the department or
designees.
    Subd. 5. Employment. "Employment" means any occupation engaged in for compensation
in money or other valuable consideration, whether paid to the minor or to some other person,
including, but not limited to, occupation as a servant, agent, or independent contractor.
    Subd. 6. School days. "School days" means any day when normal classes are in session
during the regular school year in the school district.
    Subd. 7. School hours. "School hours" means that period during which the student is
required to be in school in the school district.
History: 1974 c 432 s 3; 1986 c 444
181A.04 MINIMUM AGE AND MAXIMUM HOURS.
    Subdivision 1. Minimum age. No minors under the age of 14 shall be permitted employment
in this state except as authorized by section 181A.07.
    Subd. 2. During school. On school days, during school hours, no minor under the age of 16
years shall be permitted employment except as provided in section 181A.05.
    Subd. 3. Time of day, under 16. No minor under the age of 16 shall be permitted to work
any day before 7:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
    Subd. 4. Maximum hours. No employer shall be permitted to work a minor under the age of
16 more than 40 hours a week or more than eight hours in any 24-hour period.
    Subd. 5. Hazardous occupations. No minor under the age of 18 shall be permitted to
work in any occupation which the commissioner shall find to be particularly hazardous for the
employment of children under 18 years of age or detrimental to their well-being. A list of such
occupations shall be established and promulgated by rule pursuant to section 181A.09.
    Subd. 6. Time of day, under 18. A high school student under the age of 18 must not be
permitted to work after 11:00 p.m. on an evening before a school day or before 5:00 a.m. on a
school day, except as permitted by section 181A.07, subdivisions 1, 2, 3, and 4. If a high school
student under the age of 18 has supplied the employer with a note signed by the parent or guardian
of the student, the student may be permitted to work until 11:30 p.m. on the evening before a
school day and beginning at 4:30 a.m. on a school day.
For the purpose of this subdivision, a high school student does not include a student enrolled
in an alternative education program approved by the commissioner of education or an area
learning center, including area learning centers under sections 123A.05 to 123A.08 or according
to section 122A.163.
History: 1974 c 432 s 4; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1Sp1985 c 13 s 294; 1993 c 261 s 1; 1994 c 465
art 2 s 1; 1998 c 397 art 11 s 3; 1998 c 398 art 5 s 55; 2000 c 489 art 10 s 18; 2003 c 130 s 12
181A.05 EMPLOYMENT CERTIFICATES.
    Subdivision 1. When issued. Any minor 14 or 15 years of age who wishes to work on
school days during school hours shall first secure an employment certificate. The certificate shall
be issued only by the school district superintendent, the superintendent's agent, or some other
person designated by the Board of Education. The employment certificate shall be issued only
for a specific position with a designated employer and shall be issued only in the following
circumstances:
(1) if a minor is to be employed in an occupation not prohibited by rules promulgated under
section 181A.09 and as evidence thereof presents a signed statement from the prospective
employer; and
(2) if the parent or guardian of the minor consents to the employment; and
(3) if the issuing officer believes the minor is physically capable of handling the job in
question and further believes the best interests of the minor will be served by permitting the
minor to work.
    Subd. 2. Content of certificates. The employment certificate shall show the name, address,
date of birth and description of the minor, the name and address of the employer, the kind of work
to be performed, the hours of exemption, and shall also require the signature of the parent or
guardian and the minor in the presence of the issuing officer.
    Subd. 3. Consulting requirement. If the issuing officer is in doubt about whether the
proposed employment is in accordance with these provisions, the officer shall consult with the
division before issuing the certificate.
    Subd. 4. Termination. Upon termination for any reason of the employment authorized, the
employer shall return the employment certificate directly to the issuing officer with a notation
showing the date of termination.
    Subd. 5. Cancellation. The issuing officer is authorized to cancel an employment certificate,
if the issuing officer determines that such action would be in the best interest of the minor.
History: 1974 c 432 s 5; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1986 c 444
181A.06 AGE CERTIFICATES.
    Subdivision 1. Proof of age. Every employer shall require proof of the age of any minor
employee or prospective employee by requiring the minor to submit an age certificate, a copy of
the minor's birth record, a copy of the minor's driver's license, or a United States Department of
Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9.
Upon the request of a minor, an age certificate shall be issued by or under the authority of the
school superintendent of the district in which the applicant resides. Superintendents, principals,
or headmasters of independent or parochial schools shall issue age certificates to minors who
attend such schools.
    Subd. 2. Content of certificates. The age certificate shall show the age of the minor, the date
of birth, the date of issuance of the certificate, the name and position of the issuing officer, the
name, address, and description of the minor, and what evidence was accepted as proof of age.
The age certificate shall also show the name of the employer, the proposed occupation, and shall
state that a separate employment certificate is required for minors under 16 to work on regular
school days during school hours. It shall be signed by the issuing officer and by the minor in
the officer's presence.
    Subd. 3. When issued. An age certificate shall not be issued unless the minor's birth record
or photocopy or extract thereof is exhibited to the issuing officer, or unless such evidence was
previously examined by the school authorities and the information is shown on the school records.
If a birth record is not available, other documentary evidence shall be accepted only as provided
by the rules or orders of the department.
    Subd. 4. Filing requirements. The employer shall keep an age certificate for the duration
of the minor's employment and shall keep on file all age certificates, copies of birth records or
copies of drivers' licenses presented to the employer pursuant to subdivision 1, where they may be
readily examined by an agent of the Division of Labor Standards.
History: 1974 c 432 s 6; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1986 c 444; 2001 c 82 s 1; 1Sp2001 c 9 art 15 s 32
181A.07 EXEMPTIONS.
    Subdivision 1. Agricultural operations. Minors employed in corn detasseling operations
and other agricultural operations, with the permission of their parents or guardian, shall be exempt
from the provisions of section 181A.04, subdivision 4. Such minors 12 years of age or older are
exempt from the age provision of section 181A.04, subdivision 1.
    Subd. 2. Entertainers and models. Any minor employed as an actor, model, or performer
shall be exempt from the minimum age provisions of section 181A.04, subdivision 1.
    Subd. 3. Newspaper carriers. Newspaper carriers shall be exempt from the minimum age
provision of section 181A.04, subdivisions 1 and 3. Such carriers shall be at least 11 years of age.
    Subd. 4. Home chores; babysitters. Any minor employed to do home chores, to babysit, or
employed by a parent shall be exempt from all provisions of sections 181A.01 to 181A.12.
    Subd. 4a. Youth athletic program referees. A minor at least 11 years of age and less than 14
years of age shall be exempt from the minimum age provisions of section 181A.04, subdivision 1,
if employed as a youth athletic program referee, umpire, or official for an age bracket younger
than the minor's own age if an adult representing the state or local athletic program is on the
premises at which the athletic program event is occurring and a person responsible for the state
or local athletic program possesses a written acknowledgment signed by the minor's parent or
guardian consenting to the minor's employment as a referee, umpire, or official.
    Subd. 5. Commissioner exemptions. The commissioner may grant exemptions from any
provisions of sections 181A.01 to 181A.12 for an individual minor if the commissioner finds that
such an exemption would be in the best interest of the minor involved. Such exemptions shall be
granted only in accordance with the established rules of the department.
    Subd. 6. Requests for commissioner exemption. Any minor's parent or guardian, school
official, or youth employment specialist may request an exemption as provided in subdivision 5.
History: 1974 c 432 s 7; 1975 c 204 s 78; 1976 c 2 s 72; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1986 c 444;
2003 c 31 s 1

NOTE: Subdivision 4a was also amended by Laws 2003, chapter 26, section 1, to read
as follows:

"Subd. 4a. A minor at least 11 years of age and less than 14 years of age shall be exempt
from the minimum age provisions of section 181A.04, subdivision 1, if employed in the position
of assistant referee in a youth soccer athletic program event in which the participants are under 14
years of age and if:

(1) an adult representing the state or local athletic program is on the premises at which
the athletic program event is occurring; and

(2) a person responsible for the state or local athletic program possesses a written
acknowledgment signed by the minor's parent or guardian consenting to the minor's employment
as an assistant soccer referee."

181A.08 POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT.
    Subdivision 1. Inspections. The commissioner, an authorized representative, or any truant
officer may enter and inspect the place of business or employment and may interview any
employees, of any employer of employees in any occupation in the state, all for the purpose of
ascertaining whether any minors are employed contrary to the provisions of sections 181A.01 to
181A.12. Such authorized persons may require that employment certificates, age certificates, and
lists of minors employed shall be produced for their inspection.
    Subd. 2. Compliance orders. The commissioner or an authorized representative may issue
an order requiring an employer to comply with the provisions of sections 181A.01 to 181A.12 or
with any rules promulgated under the provisions of section 181A.09. Any such order shall be
served by the department upon the employer or an authorized representative in person or by
certified mail at the employers place of business. If an employer wishes to contest the order for
any reason, the employer shall file written notice of objection with the commissioner within ten
days after service of said order upon said employer. Thereafter, a public hearing shall be held in
accordance with the provisions of sections 14.57 to 14.69, and such rules consistent therewith as
the commissioner shall make.
    Subd. 3. Restraining orders. The commissioner or an authorized representative may apply
to any court of competent jurisdiction for an order restraining the violation of an order issued by
the commissioner pursuant to subdivision 2, or for an order enjoining and restraining violations
of this chapter or rules adopted pursuant to section 181A.09.
History: 1974 c 432 s 8; 1979 c 202 s 1; 1982 c 424 s 130; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1986 c 444;
1987 c 384 art 2 s 1
181A.09 POWER TO MAKE RULES.
    Subdivision 1. General. The commissioner shall make, revise and promulgate such rules,
including definitions of terms, as the commissioner shall deem appropriate to carry out the
purposes of sections 181A.01 to 181A.12 and to prevent the circumvention or evasion thereof.
    Subd. 2. List of hazardous occupations. The commissioner shall, by rule, establish a list of
those occupations which the commissioner finds to be particularly hazardous for the employment
of children, or detrimental to their health or well-being.
    Subd. 3. Public hearing; publication. Rules shall be adopted by the department only after
a public hearing held upon due publication of notice, at which any interested person may be
heard and of which a record shall be made. Rules shall be published by the department and
shall take effect upon publication and filing with the secretary of state and the Department of
Administration. Such rules shall have the force and effect of law upon filing as provided herein.
History: 1974 c 432 s 9; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1986 c 444
181A.10 JUDICIAL REVIEW.
    Subdivision 1. Petition. Any person who may be aggrieved by any administrative rule issued
pursuant to section 181A.09 may obtain a review thereof in the district court for Ramsey County,
by filing in such court a written petition for declaratory judgment praying that the rule be modified
or set aside. A copy of such petition shall be served upon the department. The department's
findings of fact, if any, shall be conclusive upon the court if supported by substantial evidence.
The court shall determine whether the rule is in accordance with law.
If the court determines that such rule is not in accordance with law, it shall remand the case
to the department with directions to modify or revoke such rule. If application is made to the court
by any aggrieved party for leave to adduce additional evidence, such party shall show to the
satisfaction of the court that such additional evidence is material and that there were reasonable
grounds for the failure to adduce such evidence before the department. If the court finds that such
evidence is material and that reasonable grounds exist for the failure to the aggrieved party to
adduce such evidence in prior proceedings, the court may remand the case to the department with
directions that such additional evidence be taken by the department. The department may modify
its findings and conclusions, in whole or in part, by reason of such additional evidence.
    Subd. 2. Hearings; review. Hearings in the district court on all appeals taken under
subdivision 1 shall be privileged and take precedence over all matters, except matters of the same
character. The jurisdiction of the court shall be exclusive and its judgment and decree shall be
final except that the same shall be subject to review on appeal as in other civil cases.
    Subd. 3. Effect. The commencement of proceedings under subdivision 1 shall not, unless
specifically ordered by the court, operate as a stay of an administrative rule issued pursuant
to section 181A.09.
History: 1974 c 432 s 10; 1983 c 247 s 79; 1985 c 248 s 70
181A.11 AGRICULTURAL EMPLOYMENT.
Nothing in sections 181A.01 to 181A.12 shall prohibit a person from employing a child in
any agricultural pursuit permitted under the United States Code, title 29, section 213(c)(2).
History: 1974 c 432 s 11
181A.12 PENALTIES.
    Subdivision 1. Fines; penalty. Any employer who hinders or delays the department or its
authorized representative in the performance of its duties under sections 181A.01 to 181A.12 or
refuses to admit the commissioner or an authorized representative to any place of employment
or refuses to make certificates or lists available as required by sections 181A.01 to 181A.12, or
otherwise violates any provisions of sections 181A.01 to 181A.12 or any rules issued pursuant
thereto shall be assessed a fine to be paid to the commissioner for deposit in the general fund.
The fine may be recovered in a civil action in the name of the department brought in the district
court of the county where the violation is alleged to have occurred or the district court where the
commissioner has an office. Fines are in the amounts as follows:


(a)
employment of minors under the age of 14
(each employee)
$
500



(b)
employment of minors under the age of
16 during school hours while school is in
session (each employee)
500


(c)
employment of minors under the age of 16
before 7:00 a.m. (each employee)
500


(d)
employment of minors under the age of 16
after 9:00 p.m. (each employee)
500



(e)
employment of a high school student
under the age of 18 in violation of section
181A.04, subdivision 6 (each employee)
1,000


(f)
employment of minors under the age of 16
over eight hours a day (each employee)
500


(g)
employment of minors under the age of 16
over 40 hours a week (each employee)
500




(h)
employment of minors under the age of 18
in occupations hazardous or detrimental to
their well-being as defined by rule (each
employee)
1,000




(i)
employment of minors under the age of 16
in occupations hazardous or detrimental to
their well-being as defined by rule (each
employee)
1,000


(j)
minors under the age of 18 injured in
hazardous employment (each employee)
5,000


(k)
minors employed without proof of age
(each employee)
250
An employer who refuses to make certificates or lists available as required by sections
181A.01 to 181A.12 shall be assessed a $500 fine.
    Subd. 2. Misdemeanor. An employer or other person violating any provision of sections
181A.01 to 181A.12 excluding section 181A.04, subdivision 6, or any rules issued pursuant
thereto or assisting another in such violation is guilty of a misdemeanor.
    Subd. 3. Gross misdemeanor. An employer who engages in repeated violations of
sections 181A.01 to 181A.12 excluding section 181A.04, subdivision 6, is also guilty of a
gross misdemeanor. An employer who engages in a single violation of sections 181A.01 to
181A.12excluding section 181A.04, subdivision 6, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor if the
violation results in the death of the minor or substantial bodily harm to the minor. For purposes of
this subdivision, "substantial bodily harm" has the meaning given in section 609.02, subdivision
7a
.
History: 1974 c 432 s 12; 1983 c 301 s 154; 1984 c 608 s 2; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1Sp1985 c
13 s 295; 1986 c 444; 1993 c 261 s 2; 2000 c 488 art 2 s 10