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What is the youngest age at which a person can be employed?

State and federal laws have set 14 as the minimum age for employment. However, at any age, youth may deliver newspapers; perform in radio, television, movie, or theatrical productions; work in businesses owned by their parents except in mining, manufacturing or hazardous jobs); and perform babysitting or perform minor chores around private home.

In accordance with the New Mexico rules, employers hiring children to work in the entertainment industry (radio, television, movies or theatrical) need to obtain a pre-authorization certificate PRIOR TO THE CHILDS FIRST DAY OF WORK.

What hours can youth work?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the minimum age for employment in non-agricultural employment is 14. Hours worked by 14- and 15-year-olds are limited to:

  • Non-school hours;
  • 3 hours in a school day;
  • 18 hours in a school week;
  • 8 hours on a non-school day;
  • 40 hours on a non-school week; and
  • Hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (except from June 1 through Labor Day, when evening hours are extended to 9 p.m.)

Youth 14 and 15 years old enrolled in an approved Work Experience and Career Exploration Program (WECEP) may be employed for up to 23 hours in school weeks and 3 hours on school days (including during school hours).
The FLSA does not limit the number of hours or times of day for workers 16 years and older.

Must young workers be paid the minimum wage?

Minimum wage is the lowest hourly wage that businesses may legally pay to employees or workers. The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions enforces the state minimum wage. Certain cities and counties enforce their own minimum wage. Businesses should be aware that the state will enforce the highest available rate. The state minimum wage is $11.50 effective January 1, 2021. Cities and counties in New Mexico that have minimum wage ordinances include Albuquerque, Bernalillo county, Santa Fe, Santa Fe County, and Las Cruces.

What is required to obtain a work permit?

The student must show proof of age at the time of issuance. Examples of proof of age include but are not limited to: birth certificate, Tribal ID, passport, and government issued identification. The student’s prospective employer must also certify on the application that the type of work to be performed is not dangerous to the child or injurious to the child’s health, morals, or mental development.

Are there prohibited occupations for students under 16? Under 18?

Yes, there are prohibited occupations for minors ages 14 and 15, and there are hazardous occupations for minors age 16 and 17.

FLSA - Prohibited occupations for minors ages 14 and 15
Occupations involving mining, manufacturing, processing including laundry and dry cleaning, duties is workrooms, public messenger service, hoisting apparatus' or any power driven machinery, power driven mowers/cutters, the use of auto pits, racks lifting apparatus.' Occupations in connection with transportation or persons or property, warehousing/storage, communications, public utilities, and construction. Occupations in retail food and gas service establishments; work in boiler/engine rooms, maintenance/repair of machines and equipment, outside window washing, cooking and baking, operating, setting up, adjusting, cleaning, oiling or repairing power-driven food slicers, grinders choppers and mixers, work in freezers/coolers, loading and unloading goods.

FLSA - Hazardous occupations for minors age 16 and 17
Occupations involving or in connection with; explosives, motor-vehicle drivers, mining, logging including sawmill, power-driven wood working machinery, radioactive substances, hoisting apparatus’, elevators, cranes derricks, hoists, and high lift trucks, metal forming/punching/shearing machines, slaughtering/meat packing, power driven bakery machines, paper product machines, manufacture of brick, tile and kindred products, circular saws, band saws and guillotine shears, wreaking, demolition, and ship breaking, roofing occupations and excavation operations.

State Law prohibits the following for under the age of 16:

  • Around belted machines while in motion
  • Power driven wood working machines
  • Around plants or establishments containing explosive components
  • Around plants or establishments where malt or alcoholic beverages are manufactured, packed, wrapped or stored
  • Around electrical hazards
  • Municipal firefighting
  • In any employment dangerous to lives and limbs or injurious to the health or morals of children
  • Door to door sales – except for non-profit activities with the parent’s approval.

State Law prohibits the following for under the age of 18:
Children under the age of 18 may NOT be employed in any quarry or mine underground or at or about any place where explosives are used. 

 

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