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Employment Law: Employment of Minors

This memorandum sets forth some of the legislative policies for the employment of "minors" as enacted by the Colorado legislature starting at C.R.S. 8-12-101.1 For purposes of this memorandum, "minor" means any person under the age of eighteen (18) years.2 Minors fourteen (14) years of age and older are discussed in this memorandum and it is important to note there are a number of exceptions to the following general comments that are not discussed in this material.

Any minor fourteen (14) years or older is permitted employment in any of the following occupations:3

1. Delivery of handbills, advertising, and advertising samples;

2. Gardening and care of lawns, including the operation of power driven lawn equipment if such type of equipment is approved by the Division of Labor or if the minor has received training conducted or approved by the division in the operation of the equipment;

3. Cleaning of walks, including the operation of power driven snow removal equipment;

4. Non hazardous occupations in manufacturing;

5. Public messenger service and errands by foot, bicycle, and public transportation;

6. Operation of automatic enclosed freight and passenger elevators;

7. Janitorial and custodial service, including the operation of office equipment;

8. Office work and clerical work, including the operation of office equipment;

9. Warehousing and storage, including unloading and loading of vehicles;

10. Non hazardous construction and non hazardous repair work;

11. Occupations in retail food service;

12. Occupations in gasoline service establishments, including but not limited to dispensing gasoline, oil, and other consumer items, courtesy service, car cleaning, washing, and polishing, the use of hoists where supervised, and changing tires, except that no minor may inflate or change any tire mounted on a rim equipped with a removable retaining ring.

13. Occupations in retail stores, including cashiering, selling, modeling, art work, work in advertising departments, window trimming, price marking by hand or machine, assembling orders, packing and shelving, or bagging and carrying out customers' orders;

14. Occupations in restaurants, hotels, motels, or other public accommodations except the operation of power food slicers and grinders; and

15. Occupations related to parks or recreation, including but not limited to recreation aides and conservation projects.4

No minor is permitted employment in occupations considered hazardous.5 The following occupations are declared to be hazardous by the legislature of the state of Colorado:

1. Operation of any high pressure steam boiler or high temperature water boiler;

2. Work which primarily involves the risk of falling from any elevated place located ten feet or more above the ground except that work defined as agricultural involving elevations of twenty feet or less above ground;

3. Manufacturing, transporting, or storing of explosives;

4. Mining, logging, oil drilling, or quarrying;

5. Any occupation involving exposure to radioactive substances or ionizing radiation;

6. Operation of the following power-driven machinery: woodworking machines, metal-forming machines, punching or shearing machines, bakery machines, paper products machines, shears, and automatic pin-setting machines and any other power-driven machinery which the commission determines to be hazardous;

7. Slaughter of livestock and rendering and packaging of meat;

8. Occupations directly involved in the manufacture of brick or other clay construction products or of silica refractory products;

9. Wrecking or demolition, but not including manual auto wrecking;

10. Roofing; and

11. Occupations in excavation operations.6

Generally, no employer may work a minor more than forty (40) hours in a week or more than eight (8) hours in any twenty-four (24) hour period.7 No minor under the age of sixteen (16) is permitted to work between the hours of nine-thirty (9:30) p.m. and five (5) a.m.8 and no minor under the age of sixteen (16) is permitted to work in excess of six (6) hours unless the next day is not a school day.9 A minor fourteen (14) or fifteen (15) years of age who wishes to work on school days during school hours must have a school release permit.10 Minors are eligible for workmen's compensation11 and should receive breaks and a lunch period as do our other employees.

Any corporation, manager, etc. who violates the Colorado Youth Employment Opportunity Act upon first conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty dollars ($20.00) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100.00). Upon conviction of a second offense such person shall be punished by a fine of no less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not longer than ninety (90) days, or both a fine or imprisonment.12

1 This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Colorado Youth Employment Opportunity Act of 1971". backBack
2 C.R.S. 8-12-103(5), 2002. backBack
3 Additional occupations are permitted by C.R.S. 8-12-106 and 8-12-107, 2002. Such occupations include shoe shining, caddying on golf courses, sale and delivery of periodicals door-to-door and babysitting. backBack
4 C.R.S. 8-12-108, 2002. backBack
5 Unless such minor is fourteen years of age or older and he is employed: (a) Incidental to or upon completion of a program of apprentice training; (b) Incidental to or upon completion of a student-learner program of occupational education under the auspices of a public school, junior college, community and technical college, federally funded work-training program, or private occupational school approved by the private occupational school division; (c) Upon completion of any other program of training approved by the state board for community colleges and occupational education; or (d) Upon completion of a program of occupational education conducted outside this state which the director determines offers instructional quality and content comparable to that offered in programs certified by the state board for community colleges and occupational education. C.R.S. 8-12-110(1), 2002. backBack
6 C.R.S. 8-12-110, 2002. backBack
7 In case of emergencies which may arise in the conduct of an industry or occupation the director may authorize an employer to allow a minor to work more than eight hours in a twenty-four-hour period. In such emergencies an employee shall be paid at a rate of one and one-half times his time rate as determined in accordance with the provisions of section 8-6-106 for each hour worked in excess of forty hours in a week. C.R.S. 8-12-105(4), 2002. backBack
8 Except for baby-sitters. C.R.S. 8-12-105(3), 2002. backBack
9 See C.R.S. 8-12-105(2), 2002. backBack
10 The permit shall be issued only by the school district superintendent, his agent, or some other person designated by the board of education and shall be issued only for a specific position with a designated employer. The permit shall be cancelled upon the termination of such employment and shall be issued only in the following circumstances: (a) If the minor is to be employed in an occupation which is non-hazardous; and (b) If the parent or guardian of the minor consents to the employment; and (c) If the issuing officer believes the best interests of the minor will be served by permitting him to work. C.R.S. 8-12-113(1), 2002. backBack
11 See C.R.S. 8-12-117, 2002. backBack
12 C.R.S. 8-12-116(2), 2002. backBack

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