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Employment of Minors


University of Washington departments may employ minors (children ages 14-17) in compliance with U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) regulations. When departments hire UW students who are under 18 years old, all minor employment policies apply.

Hiring officials are responsible for being aware of and complying with the DOL standards and L&I child labor laws. Where U.S. Department of Labor and Washington State Department of Labor & Industries differ, the stricter standard applies.

UW students who are 16- and 17-year-old minors may work as permitted during school vacation but they must adhere to the UW policy that limits their work to 19.5 hours maximum per week when school is in session.

Definition of Minor

Children between 14 and 17 years of age are minors, and their employment is governed by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) and the U.S. Department of Labor. Limited exceptions, such as for actors/performers, are possible for children under 14.

Child Labor Laws

Specific federal and state regulations regarding the employment of minors are found at: DOL and L&I. The regulations include specific requirements and limitations in such areas as:

as well as the consequences of not complying, such as


Hiring Process

Hiring a minor is the same as filling any other temporary position and requires the following:

  1. Proof of age: Copy of birth certificate, driver's license, baptismal record, etc.
  2. Job description: Must include equipment used, such as copiers, computers, power equipment, or vehicles.
  3. Work schedule: Must show earliest and latest work hours (download chart showing work hour limits, PDF).
  4. Parent/School Authorization Form: (download form), signed by parent/guardian and high school (if in session).
  5. Special Variance Form: For a 16- or 17-year-old high school student who wants or needs to work more than four hours a day and 20 hours per week, (up to maximum 28 hours), a special variance form is available from the student's high school.
  6. Compensation: Must be paid at least the minimum for student hourlies (Job Code 0875 and/or 1836), or the Washington State minimum wage (if higher).
  7. A completed Personnel Data Form and other appropriate employment documents including an I-9.


Employer's Work Permit

The University maintains a general work permit exemption as a Washington state institution and public employer. UW departments do not need to apply for individual state minor work permits.