Can U Work at 14? Your Guide to Teen Employment

Are you a young teen looking to earn some money and gain work experience? If you are 14 years old, you may be wondering if you are able to work. The good news is that there are laws that protect underage workers in the USA, but there are still some restrictions that you need to be aware of.

In this guide, we will provide you with the information you need to know about working at 14, including what types of jobs you can do, how many hours you can work, and what paperwork you need to have.

Types of Jobs You Can Do at 14

There are many different types of jobs that 14-year-olds can do. However, there are also some jobs that are considered too dangerous for minors. Here are some of the jobs that you can do:

  • Retail and Food Service Jobs: Cashier, bagger, customer service, busser, dishwasher, host/hostess, or delivery person
  • Animal Care Jobs: Dog walker, pet sitter, or animal shelter volunteer
  • Tutoring Jobs: If you excel in a particular subject, you can tutor younger students
  • Lawn Care Jobs: Mowing lawns, raking leaves, or shoveling snow
  • Babysitting Jobs: If you enjoy working with children, babysitting can be a great way to earn money

Jobs to Avoid

There are some jobs that are not suitable for minors due to safety concerns. These jobs include:

  • Operating heavy machinery
  • Cooking over an open flame
  • Driving a motor vehicle
  • Using power tools
  • Using or cleaning chemicals

It’s important to note that every state or city may have different regulations when it comes to teen employment, so make sure to check with your local government before starting any job.

Hours You Can Work

Teen workers have limitations on the number of hours they can work in a week, the time of day they can work, and the days they can work. Work hour limits vary depending on whether school is in session or not.

During the School Year

During the school year, 14- and 15-year-olds can only work:

  • 3 hours a day on a school day
  • 18 hours total in a school week
  • 8 hours a day on a non-school day
  • 40 hours total in a non-school week

These limits are in place to ensure that teens are not overworked and are able to focus on their education as a priority.

During Summer Break or Non-School Weeks

During summer break or non-school weeks, 14- and 15-year-olds can work:

  • 8 hours a day
  • 40 hours a week

While these are the federal laws, state laws may have additional restrictions, so be sure to check before starting a job.

Work Permits and Required Paperwork

If you are a 14-year-old looking for employment, you will need to obtain a work permit in most states. A work permit is a legal document that certifies that you are old enough to work and have permission from your parents, school, and the government.

How to Get a Work Permit

The exact process for obtaining a work permit varies by state or city. However, in general, you will need to:

  • Obtain a copy of the work permit application from your school or online
  • Get it signed by your school and parents
  • Bring it to the appropriate government office for processing

Once you have obtained a work permit, you will need to present it to your employer before you can start working.

Benefits of Working at 14

Working as a teenager can provide several benefits:

  • Earn your own money: You can start earning money and use it to save for college, spend on things you want, or help out your family
  • Gain experience: Working at a young age can help you gain valuable skills that will be useful in future jobs
  • Learn responsibility: You will learn how to manage your time and responsibilities while balancing work and school
  • Meet new people: Working with coworkers and interacting with customers can help you build your social skills and network


Working at 14 is possible, but there are some restrictions that you need to know about. You will need to obtain a work permit, and the types of jobs you can do are limited. You also have restrictions on the number of hours you can work during the school year. However, working at a young age can provide many benefits, such as earning money and gaining valuable skills and experience.


  • Can a 14-year-old work at a supermarket?
  • Yes, a 14-year-old can work at a supermarket as a bagger, cashier or stocker, as long as they have a work permit and work during permitted hours.

  • Can a 14-year-old work at Starbucks?
  • Starbucks requires their baristas to be at least 16 years old, so unfortunately, a 14-year-old cannot work at Starbucks.

  • Can a 14-year-old work at a restaurant?
  • Yes, a 14-year-old can work at a restaurant as a busser, dishwasher, host/hostess, or delivery person, as long as they have a work permit and work during permitted hours.

  • How much can a 14-year-old earn?
  • The minimum wage for minors varies by state and may be lower than the standard minimum wage. As of 2021, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but many states have higher minimum wages.

  • What paperwork does a 14-year-old need to work?
  • A 14-year-old will need a work permit, which certifies that they are old enough to work and have permission from their parents, school, and government. They may also need to provide identification and a Social Security number.


U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, Wage and Hour Division. (2021). Child Labor Provisions for Non-Agricultural Occupations Under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Retrieved from

American Veterinary Medical Association. (2021). Your Guide to Volunteer Opportunities in Veterinary Medicine. Retrieved from

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021). Minimum Wage Workers. Retrieved from

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