Ohio Child Labor Laws

January 8th 2024

Protecting the rights and welfare of young workers is of utmost importance, which is why child labor laws are vital.

Ohio’s labor laws establish a safe working environment for minors and incorporate restrictions to emphasize the importance of consistent school attendance and experience gain.

This article will provide a comprehensive examination of Ohio’s child labor laws, including age limitations, limitations on working hours, hazardous conditions, and industry-specific regulations.

This article covers:


Minimum Working Age for Minors in Ohio

In Ohio, minors are eligible to commence employment at the age of 14, but it is mandatory for all minors to obtain a working permit, also known as an age and schooling certificate, before they can begin working.

Working Permit and Age Certificate Requirement for Minors in Ohio

If a minor wants to work in Ohio, they need to provide their employer with an age certificate, schooling certificate, and a work permit issued by their school. 

Before starting work, both the employer and employee need to sign a written agreement that outlines the wage rate and payment details.

Ohio Payment Laws for Minors

Employers are prohibited from employing minors without reaching an agreement regarding the wages or compensation they will receive for their work.

This agreement should specify the amount of payment for each day, week, month, year, or per piece of work performed by the minor.

Ohio permits employers to pay a training wage of $4.25 per hour to new employees under the age of 20 for the initial 90 days of employment, as mandated by federal law.

Additionally, full-time high school or college students engaged in part-time work are eligible for the Ohio student minimum wage, which is 85% of the state’s minimum wage. This amounts to $8.59 per hour, and students can work up to 20 hours per week at specific employers, including work-study programs at universities.

Currently, the minimum wage in Ohio is set at $10.10 per hour.

Working Hours for Minors in Ohio

Minors under the age of 16 in Ohio, during school days, can work anytime between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., for no more than 3 hours.

While school is in session, they cannot work more than 18 hours in a week, and no more than 8 hours on a non-school day. When school is out of session, they cannot work more than 48 hours in a week.

Minors aged 16 and 17 have slightly different regulations. They can work before 7 a.m. when school is in session, or before 6 a.m. if they haven’t worked after 8 p.m. on the previous day.

They’re also allowed to work after 11 p.m. on a night before a school day.

The tracking of work hours for employed minors is imperative to ensure compliance with labor laws and regulations. Contemporary tools, such as time tracking software and time and attendance software, provide the means for accurate monitoring.

Break Requirements for Minors in Ohio

A minor is entitled to a rest period of at least 30 minutes if they are scheduled to work for more than 5 consecutive hours.

An employer is prohibited from scheduling a minor to work for more than 5 consecutive hours without providing a mandatory rest period.

Banned Jobs for Minors in Ohio

Ohio has a Minor Employment law that prohibits minors from working in occupations that are considered hazardous for their age group. 

These include construction operations, working with explosives, driving motor vehicles, using power-driven machinery, and working in confined spaces like silos, utility vaults, sewers, and boiler rooms.

Making Deduction to Minors Wages in Ohio

Deducting certain items from a youth employee’s wages is not allowed under Ohio child labor laws. 

These prohibited deductions include presumed negligence, failure to comply with rules, breakage of machinery, and alleged incompetence to produce work or perform according to any standard of merit.

Ohio Recordkeeping and Documentation Requirements for Child Employees

Employers are required to maintain a list of minors employed at their establishment, and this list should be posted in a visible location accessible to all minor employees.

Additionally, employers must keep a time book or written record that accurately documents the start and end times of each work and rest period. These time records must be retained for a period of two years.

Additionally, record should contain specific information for each minor employee including name, address, occupation, hours worked on each day of the week, start and end times of work, start and end times of meal periods, and the wages paid to them per pay period.

When requested, employers must allow representatives from the Ohio Department of Commerce to access and make copies of these records pertaining to youth employees.

It’s worth emphasizing that records and timesheets also serve as instruments for holding employers accountable in their treatment of child laborers. Furthermore, the data generated by time clock software is of immense value to child rights organizations and policymakers as they advocate for more robust protections and regulations. Ultimately, this advocacy contributes to the overall well-being and future prospects of child workers.

Sanctions for Employing Minors in Ohio

Employers violating Ohio’s minor labor laws can face a range of criminal charges, from minor misdemeanors to felony offenses, depending on the nature and repetition of the violations. The charges vary based on factors such as failure to comply with rest periods, recordkeeping requirements, and employing minors in hazardous occupations. Aggravating circumstances can escalate the charges.

Employers who violate Ohio’s minor labor laws can face various criminal offenses. These include being charged as:

  • Minor misdemeanors: employers can be found guilty of this for:
    1. Infractions like failing to provide rest periods, violating age and schooling certificate requirements, and neglecting recordkeeping obligations. 
    2. First-time violations of time and hour regulations, nonuse notification, and written wage notice requirements.
    3. Continuously employing a minor despite being notified of the violation constitutes a misdemeanor offense for each day the violation persists. 
  • Fourth-degree misdemeanors: for the initial failure to register with the Department of Commerce when employing youth under 16 in door-to-door sales. 
  • Third-degree misdemeanor: for employing minors in hazardous occupations or disregarding (not including the first time) time and hour regulations, nonuse notification, and written wage notice requirements.
  • First-degree misdemeanor: when aggravating circumstances exist, such as threats to a minor, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, or endangerment to a minor that fall short of a felony (including the first time), failing to register with the Department of Commerce for door-to-door sales employment (not including the first time).
  • Fourth-degree felony: if an employer fails to register with the Department of Commerce for door-to-door sales employment involving youth under 16 (not including the first time) and aggravating circumstances are present that fall short of a felony.

To know more about the entitlements of employees, check our guides on your rights as a salaried employee in Ohio and your rights as an hourly employee in Ohio. You can also learn more about Ohio Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.