Carnegie Mellon University

Hiring Minors

Before employing anyone under the age 18 ("minor"), contact your HR business partner to ensure that you are in compliance with Child Labor Laws. The following are general standards designed to protect minors and prohibit employment in jobs that are detrimental to minors' education, health and well-being.

In addition, employing minors in the workplace may trigger background certification obligations under Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law. In general, the supervisor of a minor employee, as well as any other employee who routinely interacts with a minor employee, must obtain Child Protection Clearances.

No minor may be employed without a work permit issued by the school district in which the minor resides. For minors residing outside of Pennsylvania, a work permit may be obtained from the school district in which the employer is located. A copy of the work permit should be forwarded to Human Resources prior to employment, and a second copy should be placed in the employee's departmental personnel file.

For minors under the age of 16, a written statement by the minor's parents or legal guardian acknowledging the hours and duties of employment and granting permission for the minor to work under such conditions is also required. Prior to the commencement of employment, the hiring department must complete a Parental Acknowledgement Form [pdf] for signature by the minor's parents or legal guardian. No minor under the age of 16 may commence employment without a work permit and an executed Parental Acknowledgement Form.

Minors employed as performers must also obtain an entertainment permit [pdf] from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor.

The Pennsylvania Child Labor Law requires employers to provide written notice to the school district official who issued the minor's work permit within five days of the minor starting employment; within five days of any change in employment duties; and within five days of termination of employment.

The notice to the school district within five days of the start of employment must contain the following information:

  • The normal duties and hours of the minor
  • The age of the minor
  • The minor's work permit number

Departments should work with their HR business partner to ensure that the appropriate notices are submitted to the minor's school district.


Maximum hours
during school year

Maximum hours
during summer

Times allowed during summer
(June 1 – Labor Day)

Times allowed
during the rest
of the year


3 hours per day

18 hours per week

8 hours per day

40 hours per week

7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


8 hours per day

28 hours per week

10 hours per day

48 hours per week*

6 a.m.–12 a.m.

6 a.m.–1 a.m.

all under 18

Maximum 6 days/week. A 30-minute meal period is required on or before 5 consecutive hours of work.

*Note: Although minors age 16–17 are permitted to work up to a maximum 48 hours/week, the minor may refuse to work beyond 44 hours/week.

Minors age 16–17 who have graduated from high school or who are exempt from compulsory attendance under the Public School Code are not subject to the restrictions on hours of employment or work time. However, these minors are still subject to requirements relating to work permits and hazardous employment.

Child Labor Laws prohibit minors from being employed in jobs that entail hazardous activity, which may include:

  • machinery other than typical office equipment
  • contact with alcoholic beverages
  • driving
  • strenuous physical activity

Your HR business partner can evaluate a position description to determine compliance with child labor standards.

Except as described below, all minors must be paid at least a minimum wage, and minors may not work as unpaid interns or volunteers.

CMU prohibits the use of unpaid interns under the age of 16 and discourages the use of unpaid interns under the age of 18. However, minors age 16–17 may work as unpaid interns if all of the following requirements are satisfied:

  • The internship is registered and approved via the Collaborating Visitors process (which includes HR review for compliance with the university's guidance for unpaid internships);
  • The internship has been approved by Child Protection Operations within the Office of Human Resources, and all faculty and staff members responsible for the intern have obtained appropriate Child Protection Clearances for working with minors;
  • The unpaid intern satisfies all of the requirements described above relating to work permits, parental authorization, hours of work and restrictions on hazardous employment.

Minimum Age for Employment

The minimum age for employment is 14 years for non-agricultural jobs. There are some exceptions that might allow younger employment: newspaper delivery; performing in radio, television, movie, or theatrical productions; and work for parents in a solely-owned, non-farm business (excepting manufacturing or hazardous jobs).

Minimum Wage

The state and federal minimum wage and overtime requirements also apply to minors. Please note that the Pennsylvania minimum wage is $7.25 as of July, 2009. For work locations not in Pennsylvania, use the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour as of July, 2009) or state/local minimum wage, whichever is higher. Overtime pay at a rate of not less than one and one-half times their regular rates of pay is required after 40 hours of work in a work week.