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General Labor Laws
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RI Child Labor Laws - What You Should KnowEspañol

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DID YOU KNOW......If you are under age 16 and work in Rhode Island,
you NEED a Special Limited Permit to Work form to work!

If you are a Rhode Island employer and you hire a minor, it is
YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to keep a Certificate of Age form or a Special Limited Permit to Work form for all of your employees who are under the age of 18.

In Rhode Island, you may not obtain a permit to work
unless you are at least 14 years old.

There are state, as well as federal laws, that regulate the employment of minors. This information is designed to answer questions about the hours and types of occupations that minors may work as well as explain how to obtain permits and certificates that are needed to comply with the laws. Following the rules and restrictions will ensure that Rhode Island's youth will be able to work and earn in safe environments while furthering their education and obtaining work experience.

  • Hours you can work
  • Permitted Occupations
  • Prohibited Occupations
  • Forms and Resources
  • Questions and Answers

So when can you work and what jobs can you do?

If you're 14-15, you may NOT be employed:


If you're 16-17, you may NOT be employed:

X During school hours.

X Before 6:00 am or after 7:00 pm, except during school vacations when work is permitted until 9:00 pm (NOTE: For businesses covered by federal law, work is permitted from 7:00 am until 9:00 pm from June 1 until Labor Day.)

X More than eight hours per day.
(NOTE: For businesses covered by federal law, more than 3 hours per day on school days.)

X More than 40 hours per week.
(NOTE: For businesses covered by federal law, more than 18 hours per week in school weeks, or more than 40 hours per week in non-school weeks.)

EXCEPTION - An exception is provided for minors employed pursuant to a Work Experience and Career Exploration Program (WECEP).



X More than 48 hours per week.

X More than nine hours a day.
(9 3/5 hours if a 5-day work week)

X Before 6 am or AFTER 11:30 pm.
(1:30 am if no school the next day)

X Without an 8-hour respite between the end of a shift on one day and the start of work the next day.

EXCEPTION – There are no hour limitations during school vacations. Also, there are neither hour limitations nor curfew for those 16 and 17 year olds who have left school.

Girl writing


Permitted Occupations for Teens 14 and Over

  Checkmark Office and clerical work, including operation of office machines
  Checkmark Cashiering, selling, modeling art work, work in advertising departments, window trimming and comparative shopping
  Checkmark Price marketing and tagging by hand or by machine, assembling orders, packing and shelving
  Checkmark Bagging and carrying out customers’ orders
  Checkmark Errand and delivery work by foot, bicycle and public transport
  Checkmark Cleanup work, including the use of vacuum cleaners and non-commercial floor waxers, and maintenance of grounds, but not including the use of power-driven mowers or cutters
  Checkmark Kitchen work and other work involved in preparing and serving food and beverages, including the operation of machines and devices used in the performance of such work, such as, dishwashers, toasters, dumbwaiters, popcorn poppers and milkshake blenders

Cleaning vegetables and fruits, and wrapping, sealing, labeling, weighing, pricing and stocking goods when performed in areas physically separate from areas where meat is prepared for sale, and from outside freezers or meat coolers



What jobs are you not allowed to perform?

Prohibited Hazardous Occupations
Under the Age of 18

Prohibited Hazardous Occupations

X Production of and storing explosives

X Coal mining

X Logging and sawmilling

X Power-driven woodworking machines

X Exposure to radioactive substances

X Power-driven hoisting apparatus

X Power-driven metal-forming, punching, and shearing machines

X Slaughtering or meat packing, processing or rendering. This includes the operation of a power-driven meat slicer.

X Power-driven bakery machines

X Power-driven paper-product machines

X Manufacturing brick, tile and kindred products

X Power-driven circular saws, band saws and guillotine shears

X Wrecking demolition and shipbreaking

X Roofing operations

X Excavation operations


X Any manufacturing or mining job

X processing occupations such as filleting of fish, dressing poultry, cracking nuts or laundering

X Occupations with duties in workplaces where goods are manufactured, mined or processed

X Public Messenger Service

X Operating or tending of hoisting apparatus or of any power-driven machinery (other than office machines and machines in retail, food service and establishments)

X Any cccupations found and declared to be hazardous by official designation

X Occupations in connection with:
a) Transportation of persons or property by rail, highway, air, on water, pipeline or other means
b) Warehousing and Storage
c) Communications and Public Utilities
d) Construction (including repair)

EXCEPT office and sales work in connection with these four categories as long as such office and sales work is not performed at the site of the prohibited jobs

X Dispensing gasoline or other fuel

X Docks, private or public

X Parking lot attendants

X Car washes either hand or machine

X Occupations in billiard or poolrooms

X Any work in a tunnel

X Any work in a boiler or engine room

X Outside window washing

X All work using ladders or scaffolds

X Work in freezers or meat coolers


Now that you know the hours and occupations that you can and cannot work, you're ready to fill out your working papers and check out some of the other great resources available on Child Labor.

If you are under 18 and work in Rhode Island, you MAY need a Certificate of Age form.
If you are under 16, you MUST have a Special Limited Permit to Work form.


Rhode Island employers who hire minors 14-15 MUST fill out the Intention to Employ A Minor form. For minors 16-17, employers MAY need to fill out this same form:

check markIntention to Employ a Minor Form

If you are an employer in Rhode Island and you hire a minor, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to keep a Special Limited Permit to Work form for all your employees under 16 years of age, and a Certificate of Age form for minors under 18, if one is obtained.

Once the minor's Certificate of Age or Special Limited Permit to Work form is completed, it is important for the employer to keep a copy at the place of business. This serves as the proof of age of minor employees.

If you are 16-17 and want to work in Rhode Island, you MAY need the following form:

If you are under 14-15 and want to work in Rhode Island, you MUST have the following form, as it is mandatory:

check markSpecial Limited Permit to Work 

Once you receive a copy of your Intent to Employ a Minor form, take it, along with a copy of your Birth Cerificate, Baptismal Certificate, Passport, School Records or Drivers License to the School Department in the city/town where you live, and they will issue you either a Special Limited Permit to Work or a Certificate of Age form.


Rhode Island Child Labor Laws Poster and Pamphet

Ready to Work? Understanding Rhode Island's Child Labor Laws Brochure
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RI State Summer Job Opportunities

Youth RULES - a US Department of Labor web resource

Girl on PC

Girl with books

At what age can I start working?
In Rhode Island, you must be at least 14 years old to have a job.

What hours can 16-17 year old minors work and how many hours?
Not before 6:00 am or later than 11:30 pm (if no classes are scheduled on the following day, minors may be employed until 1:30 am). If minor is not a student, there is no curfew. Maximum hours in RI is nine hours per day (Nine and three-fifths hours per day in a five-day work week), 48 hours per week.

What hours can 14-15 year old minors work and how many hours?
Not before 6:00 am or later than 7:00 pm (except 9:00 pm during school vacations). Federal law is not before 7:00 am or later than 7:00 pm (except 9:00 pm from June 1 through Labor Day). Maximum hours in Rhode Island is eight hours per day, 40 hours per week. Federal law is three hours per day (school day), eight hours per non-school day, 18 hours per week (school week) and 40 hours per non-school week.

What kind of work can a 14-15 year old do? What kind of work is not permitted?
Permitted but not limited to: Office and clerical (including office machines), cashier, bagger, price marking, landscaping (no power-driven machines), cleaning, waiting tables, bussing tables and dishwashing.

Not permitted but not limited to: manufacturing, mining, processing food or materials, laundry (washers/dryers), warehouse, construction, freezers, meat coolers, loading and unloading from trucks, railroad cars or conveyors, jewelry and any other product processing (by hand or machine), bakeries (except strictly counter help), on any dock (public or private), dispensing gasoline or oil and any work in a car wash.

RI Department of Labor and Training
Labor Standards
Center General Complex
1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920

Phone: (401) 462-8550
Fax (401) 462-8528
TTY via RI Relay: 711
11/30/18 MDF
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