Division of Labor Services

Student carrying books

Brief Comparison of State and Federal Child Labor Laws


Iowa Teens Hiring Guide
(Allowable Jobs, Hours)


Teen Summer Jobs:  Safety Pays


YouthRules! U.S. Dept. of Labor, Child Labor Information


Iowa Child Labor Law
(Iowa Code Chapter 92)


Iowa Child Labor Rules
(Iowa Admin. Code 875 Chapter 32)


Hazardous Chemicals Policy


Special Order Requirements


Guide to Issuing Child Labor Form


Physician's Certification of Minor's Age


Child Labor "Vice" Jobs
(Liquor, Tobacco, Lottery)


Nursing, Dietary, Laundry, Housekeeping Aid Declaratory Order


Interpretation Letter Regarding 15-Year-Old Lifeguards and Ladders


Link to Work-Based Learning Guide 2002


Child Labor Law
Child Work Permits


A child work permit is not a driving permit.  If you need a driving permit or license, contact the Iowa Department of Transportation.

Youth under the age of 16 in Iowa are required to have a work permit before starting work. The following information is intended to clarify some of the Iowa Child Labor laws. 

Who needs a work permit?  People under 16 years of age cannot be employed or permitted to work, with or without compensation, unless they have a work permit.

How to get a work permit.  After receiving a job offer, youth must go in person to the designated local school official or the Iowa Workforce Development Center.  Provide one of the following acceptable forms of evidence of age: a certified copy of a birth certificate, current passport or certified copy of baptismal record showing the date and place of birth and the place of the child’s baptism. If none of these is available, then a written certification from a physician certifying that, in the physician’s opinion, the applicant is 14 years of age or older, is required. The employer then must complete the work permit (Child Labor Form), specifically listing all work the minor will be performing, equipment he will use, and hours to be worked. After completing this section, the minor’s parent completes and signs his portion of the form. The form then is returned to the issuing officer for review and approval.

What hours can 14 or 15-year-olds work? Outside school hours, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., from the day after Labor Day (in September) through May 31, and no more than four hours per day, Monday through Friday, or eight hours per day on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. No more than a total of 28 hours per week is allowed. From June 1 through Labor Day, a minor may work up to eight hours per day between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., but not more than 40 hours per week.

Federal child labor laws restrict maximum work hours to 18 hours per week, from the day after Labor Day (in September) through May 31, with three hours per day, Monday through Friday, outside of school hours, and eight hours on Saturday, Sundays and holidays, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Who needs a Certificate of Age? An employer may require that a prospective minor employee obtain a Certificate of Age. Youths who are 16 or older  can obtain a Certificate of Age by going to the local Workforce Development Center or the local school official designated as the issuing officer with one of the following acceptable forms of evidence of age: a certified copy of a birth certificate, current passport or certified copy of a baptismal certificate, or a physician’s certification of age, completed by a physician appointed by the local board of education certifying that, in the physician’s opinion, the minor is 14 years of age or older.

Under Iowa Child Labor laws, Iowa Code Chapter 92, minors under the age of 18 are prohibited from working in certain occupations, performing certain duties, and from using certain equipment.

For more information on federal child labor laws, contact the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, in Des Moines at (515) 284-4625.

(For an employer subject to both state and federal child labor laws, the employer should follow the more restrictive law.)

As of July 1, 2009, civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation per child for a child labor law violation are possible instead of or in addition to criminal prosecution.  Iowa Administrative Code 875–32.11(92) outlines how these civil penalties are calculated.  If you are an employer or a parent/guardian, please make sure you know the child labor laws before you hire a minor or permit a minor to work. 

For more information on State of Iowa child labor laws or to file a child labor complaint, contact:  

Karen Pfab, Executive Officer 1 (515) 242-5869 Karen.Pfab@iwd.iowa.gov
Laura Wood, Investigator 2 (515) 725-2168 Laura.Wood@iwd.iowa.gov
FAX (515) 281-7995  

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