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Child Labor Law FAQ

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) provided below highlight topics and specific questions that are often asked of the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL). The information provided in the FAQs is intended to enhance public access and understanding of IDOL laws, regulations and compliance information. 

The FAQs should not be considered a substitute for the appropriate official documents (i.e. statute and/or administrative rules.) Individuals are urged to consult legal counsel of their choice. Court decisions may affect the interpretation and constitutionality of statutes. The Department cannot offer individuals legal advice or offer advisory opinions. If you need a legal opinion, we suggest you consult your own legal counsel. These FAQs are not to be considered complete and do not relieve employers from complying with applicable IDOL laws and regulations.

1. Who must get a "work permit"?

Work permits or employment certificates must be obtained from your local school for all minors 14 and 15 years of age before beginning work. 820 ILCS 205/9-12.


To begin the process of seeking a minor work permit, the parent/guardian should contact the school district or Regional Office of Education in their area to inquire if it can be obtained locally.​​​​ If not, request can be made by contacting the Illinois State Board of Education.


2. What hours can a minor legally work?

A 14 or 15 year old minor may NOT work:

  • before 7 a.m.
  • after 7 p.m. between Labor Day and June 1.
  • after 9 p.m. June 1 through Labor Day.
  • more than 8 hours when combining school and work hours.
  • more than 24 hours during school weeks.
  • more than 48 hours during non-school weeks.
  • more than six days per week.

For example:

A minor who goes to school from 8am to 3pm (7 hours) may work for 1 hour between the time they get out of school and 7pm.


A minor who gets out of school early and attends school from 8am-1pm (5 hours) may work 3 hours between the time they get out of school and 7pm.


No matter the number of hours spent in school on any given day, the maximum number of hours a minor may work on any school day is 3 hours.

820 ILCS 205/3


3. What kind of jobs are minors prohibited from performing?

There are 26 prohibited occupations which are considered "hazardous". Minors may not work in connection with these occupations. 820 ILCS 205/7 and 56 Ill. Adm. Code 250.205-250.255.


4. Do minors who are too young to attend school require a "work permit" for modeling/acting/performance work?

Yes. All minors under the age of 16 who are working as models, actors, and in performance work must apply for and receive an employment certificate prior to performing the work. 820 ILCS 205/8-8.1 and 56 Ill. Adm. Code 250.305-315.


Questions concerning 16 and 17 year old workers need to be directed to the U.S. Department of Labor.