This post was originally published on June 28, 2012, and extensively updated on December 7, 2022.
Employing minors is a widespread practice, and it’s undeniable that having a job can help children and teenagers learn about responsibility and how to manage their money.
At CMP, we help our business clients manage every aspect of child labor. In this post, we’ll give you the details of Utah child labor laws and help you understand your legal obligations if you decide to employ minors.
The Utah Employment of Minors Act
The Utah Employment of Minors Act was passed in 1990 and has been updated several times since, with notable updates occurring in 1992, 1996, 1997, and 2008.
The purpose of the law is to outline the rules for any employer who hires minors, defined as anybody under the age of 18.
Employers in Utah must adhere to the Utah Employment of Minors Act and any federal labor laws affecting the employment of minors.
Many small businesses employ their minor children, which is great! Let's discuss what you need to know about employing minors in Utah. The last thing you want to happen is to face penalties and negative publicity for violating child labor laws.
What is Covered by the Utah Employment of Minors Act?
The contents of the Utah Employment of Minors Act may be broken down into three sections:
- occupations of minors
- minimum wages for minors
Occupations of Minors
Utah law limits both the type of work that minors may do and the hours per day, and per week they may work. In general, minors may work only limited hours and only in occupations that have been deemed as non-hazardous by the Utah Labor Commission.
Minimum Wages for Minors
Minors in Utah must be paid the minimum wage, but there is an exception for the first 90 days they work.
Any employer who hires a minor in a prohibited occupation or pays less than required under state law may face a fine of $500 for each infraction.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring Minors in Utah?
Summer employment offers teenagers the opportunity to take responsibility for their money or learn a trade. Some minors choose to work during the school year as well.
For the employer, hiring minors can be a great advantage. Here are some of the benefits.
- Teens don’t need the benefits that older employees expect. Their parents’ insurance typically covers them. Because most teens are hourly employees, you won’t need to pay them for sick time or vacation time.
- New perspective. The next generation can offer a fresh perspective. They may look at the world today in a vastly different way than you do, and that can be helpful to any business.
- They’re easy to train. Teens are sharp and eager to learn.
- They may one day become full-time employees. Many teens that start working a part-time summer job will stick with it. Your busser could one day be your manager.
- You may be able to pay them less than you would an adult. Hiring an experienced adult would require higher pay than hiring a teen.
Keep in mind that you will need to adhere to both Utah child labor laws and US child labor laws when hiring any person under the age of 18.
Minimum Age to Work in Utah
The legal age to work in Utah is 14. Utah child labor laws state that 14-year-olds can work non-hazardous jobs like retail sales, restaurant work, or office work.
However, children under 14 can work newspaper routes, lawn care, and babysitting jobs.
Many states require minors to have a work permit. Work permits are not required for minors working in Utah, but the employer must verify the minor’s age.
Utah child labor laws state that minors of any age are not allowed to work in 17 occupations that have been classified as hazardous, including the operation of most power-driven machinery, work involving explosives or radioactive substances, meat processing, excavation, roofing, demolition, mining, logging, or manufacturing tile or brick.
How Many Hours Can a Minor Work in Utah?
Utah child labor laws state that minors under 16 are allowed to work with certain restrictions. In the summertime, when school is not in session, 14 and 15-year-olds can work up to 8 hours a day and up to 40 hours per week.
During the school year, work hours are reduced to three hours on school days. They can work up to 8 hours on weekend days. Once a child turns 16, the time restrictions no longer apply.
Working Hours for Minors
- Children under 14 may work a couple of hours a week on jobs such as newspaper routes, babysitting, and lawn care.
- Federal law states that 14- and 15-year-olds may not work more than three hours on a school day, cannot work past 7 PM from Labor Day to June 1, and cannot work past 9 PM from June 1 to Labor Day. They may not work more than 18 hours per week when school is in session.
- 16- and 17-year-olds may work without the limitations that apply to younger minors.
.Utah law specifies which occupations are permissible for minors and which are prohibited.
Minors under 16 must adhere to these limitations:
- They may not work during school hours unless authorized by school administrators.
- They may not work more than four hours on a school day.
- They may not work before 5:30 AM or after 9:30 PM unless the next day is not a school day.
- They may not work more than eight hours on any one day or more than 40 hours in any one week.
Utah employers must maintain accurate records and ensure not to schedule minor employees for more time than is permissible under state and federal law.
Permissible and Prohibited Occupations for Minors
Laws in Utah specify which occupations are appropriate for minors by age.Minors 10 and older may work in certain non-hazardous occupations, including:
- Delivery of newspapers, handbills, advertising, or advertising samples
- Gardening and lawn care (excluding any operation of power-driven lawn or snow-removal equipment
- Any other occupation not deemed harmful by the Utah Anti-discrimination and Labor Division
- Sale and delivery of periodicals
- Door-to-door sale and merchandise delivery
- Non-hazardous agricultural work
- Any other occupation not deemed harmful by the Division
- Retail sales
- Automobile service stations (excluding the operation of vehicles or mechanical lifts)
- Janitorial and custodial services
- Public messenger service
- Lawn care
- Use of approved machines, including floor polishers, vacuum cleaners, power lawn mowers, and sidewalk snow removal equipment
- Non-hazardous areas of manufacturing, warehousing & storage, construction, and any other areas not deemed harmful by the Division.
- Any occupation not deemed hazardous
- Any occupation involving the use of a motor vehicle provided the minor is licensed to drive for employment purposes under Utah state law.
There are no restrictions on work for household chores, agricultural work, --including the operation of farm equipment--, or any other casual work that the division has deemed to be non-hazardous.
There are a few exceptions to these rules as they apply to minors 16 or 17 years old, as follows.
- The minor has received a high school diploma.
- The minor has received a high school release certificate
- The minor is married
- The minor is a head of household
If any of these exceptions apply, the minor may work in the same jobs and for the same hours as an adult employee.
Any employer may complete the Application for Authorization to Employ a Minor to get permission from the state to employ a minor in a job not explicitly permitted under state law.
Additional Considerations When Hiring Minors in Utah
Here are a few additional considerations to keep in mind when hiring minors in Utah.
Employers must comply with Utah’s current minimum wage. The current minimum wage requirement in Utah is the same as the federal minimum wage: $7.25 per hour. According to the Utah Labor Commission, minors under the age of 18 must be paid the minimum wage, although employers may pay them $4.25 per hour during the first 90 days of their employment.
Tipped employees may be paid $2.13 per hour provided they earn the minimum wage when their base pay and tips are added together.
Meals and Breaks
The Utah Division of Labor states that employers are required to provide a 30-minute meal break for all minors within five hours of the start of their workday. Utah labor laws also require employers to provide minors with a 10-minute break for every three hours worked.
For each minor you hire, you’ll be required to complete new hire paperwork and provide written documentation of company policies and procedures, as well as tracking and paying employment taxes.
As an employer, it is your responsibility to train any minor you hire to ensure they understand the job and its requirements. Training must include a clear-cut set of expectations and consistent explanations of how to perform the job to your specifications.
Differences Between Utah Child Labor Laws and Adult
|Hours worked per week||18 hours a week while school is in session; 40 hours per week if school is not in session||8-40 hours per week||40 hours per week|
|Night work restrictions||7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.. before school day||
9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. before school day
|Work permits needed?||No||No||No|
|Meals||Entitled to a 30-minute meal break no later than 5 hours after their shift||Entitled to a 30-minute meal break no later than 5 hours after their shift||Not required|
|Breaks||10-minute break every 3 hours||10-minute break every 3 hours||Not required|
|Wages||At least minimum wage||At least minimum wage||At least minimum wage|
FAQ About Hiring Minors in Utah
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about hiring minors in Utah.
Do Minors Need a Work Permit in Utah?
Utah does not require minors under the age of 18 to obtain a work permit to perform work as permitted by state law.
Employers are required to have proof of their compliance with Utah child labor laws. One option is to request an age certification from the minor’s school.
Are Minors Eligible for Health Insurance Benefits?
There is no Utah law requiring employers to offer group health insurance to employees. Many minors have coverage under their parents’ policies.
Under the Affordable Care Act, any employee who works more than 30 hours per week for a year is eligible to apply for health insurance through the marketplace.
What Are the Child Labor Restrictions for the Entertainment Industry?
Child labor in the entertainment industry is subject to the same rules as any other employment of minors. Entertainment employers must complete the Application for Authorization to Employ a Minor, which must be signed by the minor’s parents and the employer.
There is no state requirement to have a tutor on set; however, if the minor misses more than one day of school, the employer must provide documentation of the provisions made to accommodate educational requirements.
Final Thoughts on Utah Child Labor Laws
Utah has laws in place to protect any minor child under 18 by providing employers with guidelines and limitations for the employment of children.
Any company that hires minors should be sure to comply with all regulatory and financial obligations. If you need help managing the financial aspects of employing minors, CMP is here to help.