In some instances, children as young as age 10 can work in Utah

May 16, 2022, 3:30 PM | Updated: 4:13 pm
children at work Utah...
FILE: Photo credit: Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — McDonald’s is paying $14 an hour for full-time 14-year-old workers. Did you know children as young as 10 are legally allowed to work some jobs in Utah? 

Eric Olson of the Utah Labor Commission (who grew up on a farm in a rural community), joined KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Dujanovic to explain the rules for workers under 16 in the state. Debbie says let kids be kids. Olson says put them to work. “Who do think mows your lawn?” he asked.

Children at work in the United States

One-quarter of 14-year-olds in the US work a job according to the US Bureau of  Labor Statistics. An additional one-third worked in “freelance” jobs such as babysitting or yard work. In general, 57% of all 14-year-olds participate in some type of work activity in the United States.

And there are rules that accompany those jobs for kids.  Olson said that in Utah:

  • a minor under the age of 16 cannot work during school hours unless authorized by proper school authorities;
  • while school is in session, a person under the age of 16 cannot work before or after school for more than four hours a day;
  • minors can’t work before 5 a.m. and can’t work after 9:30 p.m. unless the next day is not a school day; and
  • minors under the age of 16 are not permitted to work more than eight hours a day in a 24-hour period or more than 40 hours a week — even in the summer.

Children who are aged 10 and younger can work these jobs in Utah:

  • delivering newspapers or advertising that hangs on outside doorknobs or gates;
  • lawn and garden care as long as there’s no power-driven lawn or snow-removal equipment;
  • door-to-door sale and delivery of merchandise, such as periodicals (for 12-year-olds);
  • non-hazardous agricultural work;
  • golf course caddy; and
  • babysitting.

“Your kids have the rest of their ever-loving lives to work 40,50, 60 hours a week,” Dujanovic concluded.

“If you are commanding your child to work at the age of 14, and it’s something more than babysitting, and you’re putting them to work where they have got to show up for sure for a job, and they clock in and they clock out, I disagree with that completely.”


What’s behind the baby formula shortage?

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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In some instances, children as young as age 10 can work in Utah