Utah Child Labor Laws: Navigating the Working Hours for Minors

Understanding the Utah child labor laws is crucial for employers, parents, and young workers in the Beehive State. This article will delve into the specifics of how many hours a minor can work in Utah, guided by the established Utah child labor laws. The goal is to provide real information and data to ensure compliance and safety for young workers.

Key Highlights of Utah Child Labor Laws

Utah child labor laws serve to safeguard the welfare of minors while balancing the benefits of work experience with the importance of education and safety. These laws provide specific guidelines regarding the hours minors are permitted to work, particularly on school days. Utah’s child labor laws impose different restrictions based on the age of the minor:

Age GroupWork Hour Restrictions during School Days
14-15 Years Old3 hours on a school day, 18 hours in a school week, 8 hours on a non-school day, 40 hours during a non-school week
16-17 Years Old4 hours on a school day, 20 hours in a school week, 8 hours on a non-school day, 40 hours during a non-school week

Prohibited Jobs and Industries

Utah child labor laws impose restrictions on the types of jobs and industries in which minors can work, aiming to ensure their safety and well-being. Certain jobs are considered too hazardous for minors, and it’s crucial for both employers and young workers to understand these limitations.


Minors are strictly prohibited from working in mining operations in Utah due to the inherent dangers associated with this industry. Mining environments pose significant risks, including cave-ins, exposure to toxic gases, and the operation of heavy machinery. These hazards can result in severe injuries or even fatalities, making it imperative to exclude minors from such work settings. Here are key points related to the prohibition of minors in mining:

  • Risk Factors: Mining activities involve various hazards that may endanger the health and safety of young workers, including unstable terrain, confined spaces, and the use of explosives;
  • Legal Restrictions: Utah child labor laws explicitly prohibit minors from engaging in any mining-related tasks to mitigate the risk of accidents and injuries in this high-risk industry.

Heavy Machinery

Working with heavy machinery is deemed unsafe for minors under Utah child labor laws. The operation of heavy equipment requires specialized training, experience, and maturity to ensure safe handling and prevent accidents. Minors may lack the physical strength, cognitive skills, and judgment necessary to operate heavy machinery safely. Here are key considerations regarding minors and heavy machinery:

  • Specialized Training: Operating heavy machinery necessitates comprehensive training to understand equipment functionality, safety protocols, and emergency procedures. Minors typically lack the experience and expertise required to operate such equipment safely;
  • Risk of Accidents: Inexperienced minors may inadvertently cause accidents or injuries when operating heavy machinery due to their limited understanding of equipment operation and safety hazards.


Certain manufacturing positions are considered too hazardous for minors under Utah child labor laws. Industries involved in manufacturing often entail working with complex machinery, exposure to chemicals, and potential risks such as sharp objects or moving parts. Minors may not possess the physical strength, cognitive abilities, or experience to navigate these hazards effectively. Here’s what you need to know about minors and manufacturing:

  • Complex Machinery: Manufacturing facilities frequently utilize intricate machinery and equipment that require specialized skills and knowledge to operate safely. Minors may be at a higher risk of accidents or injuries when working with such machinery;
  • Chemical Exposure: Some manufacturing processes involve the use of hazardous chemicals or substances that can pose health risks, particularly to young workers who may be more vulnerable to adverse effects due to their developing bodies.

Breaks and Meal Periods

In addition to restrictions on hazardous jobs, Utah child labor laws also address the importance of breaks and meal periods for minors in the workforce. Ensuring adequate rest and nourishment is essential for the well-being and productivity of young workers.

Regular Breaks

Minors employed in Utah are entitled to regular breaks to rest and recharge throughout their shifts. These breaks are essential for preventing fatigue and promoting overall health and safety in the workplace. By taking periodic breaks, young workers can maintain focus and perform their duties effectively. Here are some key points regarding regular breaks:

  • Frequency: The frequency of breaks may vary depending on the duration of the shift and the age of the minor. However, it is essential to provide young workers with adequate opportunities to take short breaks to rest and stretch;
  • Duration: While specific durations for breaks may not be explicitly outlined in the law, employers are encouraged to allow minors sufficient time to relax and rejuvenate. Short breaks of 10 to 15 minutes every few hours can significantly benefit young workers;
  • Supervision: Employers should ensure that minors are aware of their break entitlements and are encouraged to take them. Supervisors play a crucial role in reminding young workers to utilize their break time appropriately.

Meal Breaks

Minors working more than five consecutive hours must receive a minimum 30-minute meal break according to Utah child labor laws. This provision is aimed at ensuring that young workers have adequate time to eat and replenish their energy levels during extended shifts. Here are the key aspects related to meal breaks:

  • Duration: The minimum duration of a meal break is 30 minutes, providing young workers with ample time to consume a nutritious meal and take a brief rest. Employers should schedule these breaks strategically to minimize disruptions to workflow;
  • Timing: Meal breaks should be provided midway through shifts exceeding five hours to ensure that minors have an opportunity to refuel and maintain their energy levels for the remainder of the workday;
  • Facilities: Employers must provide suitable facilities for minors to consume their meals comfortably. This may include designated break areas equipped with seating, tables, and amenities such as microwaves or refrigerators for storing food.

Benefits of Breaks and Meal Periods

Ensuring compliance with break and meal period regulations offers numerous benefits for young workers and employers alike:

  • Health and Well-being: Regular breaks and meal periods allow minors to rest, refuel, and maintain their physical and mental well-being during work hours;
  • Productivity: By providing opportunities for rest and nourishment, employers can enhance the productivity and performance of young workers, leading to better outcomes for businesses;
  • Compliance: Adhering to break and meal period regulations demonstrates a commitment to legal compliance and fosters a positive work environment that prioritizes the welfare of employees.

Night Work Restrictions

There are additional restrictions for night work under the Utah child labor laws:

Age Group: 14-15 Years Old

Minors aged 14 to 15 years old face stringent limitations on night work, reflecting the vulnerability and developmental stage of early adolescence:

  • Work Hours Restrictions: During the school year, minors in this age group are prohibited from engaging in work before 7:00 AM or after 7:00 PM. This restriction is crucial in allowing minors to balance their educational commitments with work responsibilities;
  • Summer Work Hours: The restrictions on night work hours extend during the summer break, permitting minors to work until 9:00 PM. This adjustment acknowledges the altered schedule of summer vacations while still ensuring minors have adequate time for rest and recreation.

These restrictions are designed to protect minors from excessive fatigue, which can impede their academic performance and overall well-being. By limiting night work, the law seeks to promote a healthy balance between work, education, and personal development for minors aged 14 to 15 years old.

Age Group: 16-17 Years Old

Minors aged 16 to 17 years old face fewer explicit restrictions on night work, reflecting their increased maturity and ability to manage their responsibilities:

  • No Specific Night Work Restrictions: Unlike younger minors, those aged 16 to 17 years old do not face prescribed limitations on night work hours. This flexibility acknowledges their growing independence and ability to handle more varied work schedules;
  • Employer Responsibility: However, employers are still obligated to ensure that night work does not negatively impact the health or schooling of minors in this age range. This responsibility places an emphasis on employers’ duty of care towards young workers, even in the absence of explicit regulatory constraints.

While minors aged 16 to 17 years old enjoy greater flexibility in their work hours, the overarching goal remains the protection of their well-being and educational pursuits. Employers play a crucial role in ensuring that night work arrangements are conducive to the overall development and welfare of young workers, fostering a supportive and safe working environment.

Exemptions and Special Cases

Certain exemptions exist within the Utah child labor laws:

Actors, Performers, and Babysitters

Actors and performers engaged in theatrical, radio, television, or film productions are commonly exempt from typical child labor restrictions. This exemption allows minors to participate in artistic endeavors while ensuring their safety and well-being on set. Babysitters, who often work irregular hours or in private homes, also fall under this exemption category.

Special Permits

Special permits can be issued for educational purposes or hardship cases, providing flexibility within the framework of child labor laws. These permits allow minors to engage in employment that may otherwise be restricted due to age or hours limitations. Here’s a breakdown of the special permit system:

  • Educational Purposes: Minors may obtain special permits to engage in work that complements their educational goals. This could include internships, apprenticeships, or vocational training programs. These permits ensure that minors can gain valuable experience without compromising their academic pursuits;
  • Hardship Cases: In situations where minors face financial hardship or familial obligations, special permits may be granted to allow employment beyond typical restrictions. These cases are assessed on an individual basis, taking into account the minor’s circumstances and the necessity of employment for their well-being.


The Utah child labor laws are essential for protecting minors while allowing them to gain valuable work experience. Understanding these laws helps ensure that the work does not interfere with their education and wellbeing. Employers, parents, and minors themselves should familiarize themselves with these regulations to promote a safe and compliant work environment.

Navigating the Utah child labor laws may seem daunting, but it’s a straightforward process when you have the right information. By adhering to these guidelines, we can support the development of our young workforce in a responsible and legal manner.


Can minors work during school hours under Utah child labor laws?

Minors typically cannot work during school hours, especially for the 14-15 age group. Exceptions may apply for vocational training programs.

Are there exceptions to these laws for family-owned businesses?

Yes, in some cases, minors working for a business entirely owned by their parents are exempt from certain hour restrictions.

How does Utah enforce these child labor laws?

Enforcement is carried out by the Utah Labor Commission through inspections and responding to complaints.

Can minors work in any job they qualify for in Utah?

While minors can work in many jobs, there are restrictions on hazardous jobs and industries as outlined by the Utah child labor laws.

Do these laws apply to minors from other states working in Utah?

Yes, any minor working in Utah must adhere to the Utah child labor laws, regardless of their home state.