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Working outside the home is a great way for teenagers to learn responsibility, gain life experience and earn spending money. A 14-year-old can fit in work shifts on weekday afternoons, weekends and during school breaks. The Department of Labor allows teens this age to work, so many businesses are open to employing 14-year-olds. Even in small towns, you and your teen can find places that hire at 14. Convincing a kid this age to actually go to work might be the bigger challenge.
A Basic List For 14-Year-Olds
Some of the places where 14-year-olds can work are:
- Grocery stores.
- Other retail stores.
- Gas stations.
- Car washes.
The list is a fairly short one because the DOL allows teens as young as 14 to work for businesses but does impose a number of restrictions on these workers.
Federal and State Regulations for Teens
A 14-year-old may work no more than three hours per day on a school day, no more than 18 hours per week while school is in session and no more than eight hours per day and 40 hours per week when school is not in session, like during summer breaks. Fourteen-year-olds may only work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during most of the year, and between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. between June 1st and Labor Day.
The DOL also restricts the kind of work that a 14-year-old may perform. It specifically names the job types that a 14-year-old may hold, and any jobs that aren't named are prohibited for these workers. Working in manufacturing, mining and using power-driven machinery are some of the jobs that a young teen can't do.
All that said, each state also makes its own laws for young workers, and state residents must adhere to those restrictions. Your state may also require 14-year-olds to secure work permits before beginning a job. Some states don't require them at all. In states that do, the school guidance office or state department of labor can provide information about permits.
Store Jobs for 14-Year-Olds
The DOL approves of retail jobs for 14-year-olds. Both grocery and retail stores may employ young teens to do things like bag groceries, operate a cash register, stock shelves and assist customers. Some departments and tasks are off-limits; for example, a 14-year-old can't use a meat slicer or work inside a freezer or meat cooler. Some chains won't hire workers this young, but others, like Publix, will consider 14-year-old applicants.
Food Service Jobs for 14-Year-Olds
Young workers can do some restaurant jobs. A 14-year-old employee may bus tables, work a cash register, clean the restaurant, package food for customers, use some kitchen equipment like toasters and milk shake blenders and do some minor cooking tasks. So while working as a cook or a bartender is out of the question, a 14-year-old may work as a busser, a restaurant host or a counter service person at a fast-service restaurant.
Agriculture Jobs for 14-Year-Olds
Picking, planting and packaging crops are viable summer jobs for 14-year-olds who live in rural areas. The U.S. DOL allows teens this age to do any nonhazardous agriculture job as long as they only work outside of school hours. Each state has its own laws that specifically govern young teens doing agricultural work, so check with your state's DOL before your teen starts job hunting.
Other Jobs for 14-Year-Olds
No list of jobs for 14-year-olds would be complete with the time-honored tradition of babysitting. For teens who live in areas with limited jobs opportunities, beating out older and more experienced workers for store and restaurant positions may be challenging. Child and pet care may be easier jobs for these young teens to secure. Summer camps may also hire 14-year-olds as junior counselors.
The federal DOL also allows kids this age to pump gas, wash cars, run errands and do yard work that doesn't require the use of power-driven machinery.
- U.S. Department of Labor: Age Requirements
- YouthRules.gov: I am 14 or 15
- Business Insider: The Us Allows Teens to Start Working at 14 — Here's How to Get a First Job in Every State
- Publix: Age and Schedule Requirements
- U.S. Department of Labor: Fact Sheet #2A: Child Labor Rules for Employing Youth in Restaurants and Quick-Service Establishments Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- U.S. Department of Labor: State Child Labor Laws Applicable to Agricultural Employment
- YouthRules.gov: Agricultural Jobs
Kathryn has been a lifestyle writer for more than a decade. Her work has appeared on USAToday.com and Indeed.com.