A number of states require minors under the age of 18 to have work permits, but Oregon does not have this requirement. Instead, it requires employers to apply for an employment certificate from the state's Bureau of Labor and Industries’ Wage and Hour Division. Employers must follow all federal and state laws when hiring minor workers.
How to Employ Minors in Oregon
In regard to working in Oregon, a minor is an individual under 18 years old. Oregon minors must be at least 14 years old to work in Oregon and can hold only certain jobs. Teens 16 and over can take most types of work with the exception of those that are high risk, such as roofing, logging and messenger services; they cannot use heavy machinery, power equipment or vehicles.
Minors aged 14 and 15 cannot work in breweries or wineries, cold storage plants or grain elevators, and cannot sell door to door. Minors aged 9 to 13 are permitted to pick berries and beans during the summer months.
Obtaining an Employment Certificate for Minors
An employer in the state of Oregon who hires minors must apply for an employer annual certificate from the Bureau of Labor and Industries’ Wage and Hour Division. They must also:
- Comply with state and federal child labor laws.
- Verify a hired minor’s age from an appropriate identifying document, such as passport, driver’s license or birth certificate.
- Keep a list of minors hired by the company.
- Post the validated employment certificate in sight of all employees.
Employers may obtain the application by contacting the Child Labor Unit in Portland at 971-673-0836; picking them up at any bureau office; or printing a form from the bureau's website.
After filling out the permit application form, employers should send it to the Child Labor Unit, 800 NE Oregon St. #1045, Portland, OR 97232. After approval, the employer will receive the validated annual employment certificate.
Renewals and Changes to Work Duties
If the minor’s work duties change, the employer must fill out a Notice of Change Form and send it to the Child Labor Unit. When it comes time to renew, the employer will receive notice from the bureau a few weeks before the certificate expires.
Work Hours for Minors in Oregon
Fourteen- and 15-year-old minors in Oregon are permitted to work only three hours a day when in school. They can work eight hours on days when school is out, up to 18 hours in a week. Teens can work from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., but not during school hours.
During the school off-season, 14- and 15-year-olds can work up to eight hours a day and 40 hours a week; from June 1 to Labor Day, they can work from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Teens 16 and 17 years of age can work any number of hours in the day and up to 44 hours a week.
Farm Work Hours for Minors
Nine- to 11-year-olds can pick beans and berries before or after school hours only:
- With a parent or guardian's written consent.
- If the employer used under 500 man days of labor (a day during which an individual does agricultural work for one hour or more) the year before in all quarters.
- If the employer sells produce in the state only; containers must be marked as such to prevent them from being used in interstate commerce.
This group of workers can pick short-season crops when school is not in session for up to eight weeks from June 1 to October 15, if the farm has obtained U.S. Department of Labor waivers. All minors, no matter their age, may do farm work in any capacity if their parents own or operate the farm.
Wage, Meal and Break Laws for Oregon Minors
Minors, just like any workers, must be paid the Oregon minimum wage of $13.50 per hour as of July 2022. Employers must give meal breaks of at least 30 minutes' duration to nonexempt minor employees who work a minimum of six hours in one period. They must also provide rest breaks of at least 15 minutes for each four hours of time worked.
If the employer requires a minor to appear for work, they must give that individual adequate work to do. This means they should have enough compensated work to earn at least half of what they would earn during their regularly scheduled work hours.
Oregon Minors and Employer Records
According to Oregon law, employers must also maintain and keep records regarding the employment of minors. These records must contain:
- Minor’s full name and any identifying number or symbol on time sheets, payroll or work records.
- Home address and Zip code.
- Birth date and sex.
- Time and day of the week their workweek begins.
- Number of hours they work each day and week.
- Dates their employment began and ended.
Additionally, if the minor is under age 16, the employer must keep records of the time of each day that the minor starts and stops working, and a schedule of the most hours the minor will work each day and week.
Oversight of Employers
The bureau may inquire about a minor’s working conditions at any time to determine if they are suitable. An employer found in violation of lawful employment of a minor faces a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation.
Domestic workers in a private residence, newspaper carriers and vendors, and minors working as a referee or assistant referee in a recreational soccer match are exempt from these requirements.
- Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries: Rule 839-021-0500 Exemptions
- Oregon Revised Statutes: ORS 653.370 Civil Penalty for Unlawful Employment of Minors
- Oregon Revised Statutes: Minimum Wages ORS 653.305 Bureau’s Inquiry Into Employment of Minors
- Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries: Rule 839-021-0170 General Recordkeeping Requirements
- Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries: Summary of Child Labor Laws
- MinimumWage.org: Oregon Minimum Wage for 2021, 2022
- Oregon.gov: STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS REGULATING THE EMPLOYMENT OF MINORS IN AGRICULTURE
- Oregon.gov: Home
- Jobs For Teens: How to Get a Work Permit in Oregon
- Oregon State Bar: Employment of Minors
Michelle Nati is an associate editor and writer who has reported on legal, criminal and government news for PasadenaNow.com and Complex Media. She holds a B.A. in Communications and English from Niagara University.