Employing a Minor

To hire anyone under the age of 18 in Washington, there are specific laws and rules employers must follow. Businesses who violate minor work restrictions can be subject to fines and civil penalties.

Visit L&I’s YOUTH EMPLOYMENT page for details on wages, scheduling limitations and other important info.

Before hiring minors in your workplace you must:

  1. Get a minor work permit endorsement on your business license. Apply with the Department of Revenue (DOR) for a minor work permit. L&I reviews all minor work permit requests. Once approved, DOR will issue a new business license with your endorsement. You must post this new business license once you receive it, and renew it with DOR every year.
  1. Get a completed parent/school or summer authorization form. Before a minor can begin working, you must get their parent or legal guardian and their school (when in session) to complete the appropriate authorization form below. Keep a copy of these forms for your files.
  1. Verify the minor’s age. You must keep a copy of one of the following on file:
    • For non-agricultural jobs.
      • Birth certificate and Social Security card.
      • Driver’s license.
      • Baptismal record.
      • Notarized statement from the parent or legal guardian.
  • 16-17 years old can work in:
    • Construction jobs — with restrictions on powered tools, machinery, and roof work.
    • Manufacturing jobs — except brick or tile manufacturing, with machine restrictions.
    • Service occupations — such as hospitality, healthcare, and food service. Use of powered food slicers and bakery equipment is prohibited.
    • Sign waving on public right away.
    • Landscaping, including use of some power-driven mowers and certain weed-whackers.
    • Driving — 16-year-olds may move vehicles in parking lot; 17-year-olds may drive on a public roadway on an occasional basis. (see Administrative Policy ES.C.4.3for details).
    • All jobs listed for 14-15 years old and under 14 years old.
  • 14-15 years old can work in:
    • Any retail occupation.
    • Intellectual or creative work such as computer, tutoring, teaching, acting.
    • Errands/delivery work by foot, bicycle and public transportation.
    • Clean-up and yard work that does not include using power-driven equipment.
    • Work in connection with vehicles, dispensing gasoline or oil and washing.
    • Cleaning vegetables, fruit, wrapping sealing, and labeling, weighing pricing, and stocking in areas separate from a freezer or meat cooler.
    • 15-year-olds can work as certified lifeguards at pools and water parks.
    • Service occupations such as food service and hospitality, including reheating food, washing dishes, cleaning, waiting tables, etc.
    • All jobs listed for under 14 years old