The annual change of acceptable work hours for youth employed in Missouri goes into effect Tuesday.

Missouri's Division of Labor Standards says the annual change of acceptable work hours ensures that employees of all ages are treated fairly and safely when they start their first jobs. Missouri’s Child Labor Law applies to youth under 16 years old. 

The acceptable work hours for 14-to-15 year olds until June 1, while school is in session, is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., no more than eight hours on non-school days (weekends or school breaks), no more than three hours on school days and no more than six days a week. 

From June 1, 2020 to Labor Day, while school is not in session, acceptable work hours are from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., no more than eight hours on non-school days, no more than six days per week or 40 hours per week. 

In certain circumstances, 14 and 15 year olds may work until 10:30 p.m, if employed at a regional fair between June 1 and Labor Day, the Division of Labor states. 

Missouri law doesn’t require employers to provide employees, including youth workers, a break of any kind, including a lunch hour. These provisions are either left up to the discretion of the employer, can be agreed upon by the employer and employee, or may be addressed by company policy or contract, the Division of Labor states.

On the one hand, the entertainment industry, does require breaks and rest periods for youth workers. Under Missouri Law, a youth can’t work more than five and one-half hours without a meal break; in addition, a 15-minute rest period, which counts as work time, is required after each two hours of continuous work for youth in the entertainment industry.

Acceptable and Unacceptable Jobs for Youth in Missouri

Acceptable work for all youth in Missouri under 16:

Entertainment industry; work permit needed. For youth over 12 years old, babysitting, newspaper delivery, occasional yard work performed with the parent's consent, coaching, refereeing; no certificate needed. 

Acceptable work for 14 and 15 year olds in Missouri:

Office/clerical work; work certificate needed. Retail: cashier, price marking, bagging, selling, packing, shelving; work certificate needed. Maintenance/janitorial services - for private residence; work certificate needed. Food service delivery: preparing/serving food and beverages; work certificate needed. Vehicle cleaning services: polishing and washing; work certificate needed.

Unacceptable Types of Work and Workplaces for Youth All Ages Under 16

In Missouri unacceptable work and workplaces for all ages under 16:

Door-to-door sales (excluding churches, schools, scouts) Operating hazardous equipment: ladders, scaffolding, freight elevators, cranes, hoisting machines, man lifts, etc. Handling/maintaining power-driven machinery (with the exception of lawn/garden machinery in a domestic setting; (RSMo 294.011(7)(c), and RSMo 294.040(1) Mining, quarrying, or stone cutting/polishing; except in jewelry stores. Transporting or handling Type A and B explosives or ammunition. Operation of any motor vehicle. Metal-producing industries including stamping, punching, cold rolling, shearing, or heating. Saw mills or cooperage stock (barrel) mills or where woodworking machinery is used. For more information regarding saw mills owned and operated by religious communities, visit the USDOL. Jobs involving ionizing or non-ionizing radiation or radioactive substances. Jobs in hotels, motels, or resorts unless the work performed is physically separated from the sleeping accommodations. Jobs in any establishment in which alcoholic beverages are sold, manufactured, bottled or stored unless 50 percent of the workplace sales are generated from other goods. Any job dangerous to the life, limb, health, or morals of youth.

The Division of Labor Standards notes that door-to-door selling is a consistent problem facing youth in Missouri. Employment of youth under the age of 16 in any facet of door-to-door selling or street occupation is prohibited — unless it is on behalf of a school, church and charitable entity. This includes scouts or political candidates.