Child Labor: Oregon

Child Labor requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Gloria Ju


  • Oregon's child labor law generally covers minors under 18 years of age.
  • An employer in Oregon may not employ minors without providing certain working conditions. See General Working Conditions.
  • Unlike federal law, Oregon law regarding prohibited occupations applies to agricultural employment. Oregon also specifies other prohibited occupations for minors under 16 years of age. See Prohibited Occupations.
  • Minors' work hours are restricted based on age, but all minors are entitled to show-up pay. See Hours of Work.
  • An employer must provide minors with both meal and rest breaks. See Break Periods.
  • While work permits are required only for minors under 14 years of age, employment of minors 14 to 17 years old requires an employment certificate and proof of age. See Employment Certificates.
  • An employer may apply for a special permit that allows minors to work beyond the legal work hours limits. See Employment Certificates.

General Working Conditions

Oregon's child labor law requires employers to provide certain working conditions for minors.

An employer must provide:

  • A sanitary and safe work area;
  • Adequate lighting;
  • Adequate ventilation;
  • Adequate washrooms; and
  • Adequate toilet facilities.

If the employer chooses to provide the following, they must be adequate:

  • Rest rooms;
  • Dressing rooms;
  • Lunch rooms; and
  • A cot or stretcher for use in illnesses, accidents or other emergencies.

If the following are required by the nature of the work, the employer must provide suitable:

  • Seats;
  • Tables; and
  • Work benches.

The employer must fully comply with state safety laws and federal and state wage payment laws. If the employer receives government recommendations related to temperature and humidity conditions, it must comply with those recommendations within 10 days of receiving notice.

+Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0087.

Also, no minor may be required to lift excessive weights. +Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0092.

Prohibited Occupations

Oregon prohibits the employment of minors under the age of 18 in occupations deemed hazardous under federal law. +Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0104. However, where federal law exempts agricultural employment, state law does not. +Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0285.

In addition, while federal law prohibits employment where explosives or articles containing explosive components are manufactured or stored, Oregon also prohibits employment where explosive materials are manufactured, stored or used. +Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0106.

Prohibited Occupations for 15-Year-Olds and Younger

The following occupations and types of work have been declared to be hazardous for minors under 16 years of age:

  • Baking;
  • Blast furnaces;
  • Breweries;
  • Bridge operations;
  • Briquet plants;
  • Building cleaning (exterior);
  • Cattle handling;
  • Coal plants or bunkers;
  • Cold storage plants;
  • Commercial docks;
  • Construction (alteration, repair, painting or demolition of buildings, bridges and structures);
  • Cooking (except cooking with a gas or electric grill that does not have an open flame, using a microwave to warm food or using a deep fryer that is equipped with a device that automatically raises and lowers the basket);
  • Creosoting works;
  • Distilleries;
  • Electric power plants and lines;
  • Electric light plants and lines;
  • Engineering works (construction, improvement, alteration or repair of steam plants, water power plants, telephone, telegraph, or electric plants or lines, or railroads, streets, highways, sewers, harbors, docks or canals);
  • Firefighting;
  • Foundries;
  • Garbage works;
  • Gas works;
  • Grain elevators;
  • Gravel or sand plant or bunker;
  • Ice plants;
  • Kitchen cleaning of equipment when the surface is hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or filtering or disposing of cooking oil or grease that is hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit;
  • Railroads;
  • Land clearing (with blasting or presence of heavy equipment);
  • Logging operations;
  • Longshoring;
  • Lumber loading;
  • Mechanical amusements;
  • Milk condenseries;
  • Mines;
  • Moving buildings, bridges and structures;
  • Peace officer work;
  • Powder works;
  • Quarries;
  • Reduction works;
  • Rock crushers;
  • Smelters;
  • Stockyards;
  • Surveying;
  • Tanneries;
  • Tree surgery;
  • Well digging and drilling;
  • Window cleaning (outside above ground);
  • Wineries; and
  • Wood cutting and sawing.

The following occupations and types of work have been declared to be hazardous for any minor under 16 years of age when the work is performed in rooms or areas having power-driven machinery:

  • Boat repair shops;
  • Canneries;
  • Chop mills;
  • Creameries;
  • Cycle repair shops;
  • Electrotyping plants;
  • Engraving plants;
  • Factories (manufacturing, repair, alteration);
  • Feed mills;
  • Flour mills;
  • Garages;
  • Grain warehouses;
  • Irrigation works;
  • Laundries;
  • Lithographing plants;
  • Mills;
  • Motor repair shops;
  • Photoengraving plants;
  • Printing plants;
  • Shipbuilding operations;
  • Stereotyping plants; and
  • All kinds of work in workshops or any premise, room or place where power-driven machinery is used in or incidental to adapting articles or goods for sale.

Minors under 16 may only perform office work in the following operations:

  • Auto wrecking yards;
  • Junk dealers;
  • Motor vehicle (transportation);
  • Lumbering; and
  • Water works.

+Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0102.

Minors under 16 years of age are also prohibited from employment:

  • As a canvasser, peddler or outside salesperson, from house to house;
  • On or around any unenclosed commercial wharves or docks or in any unenclosed buildings extending over water, with certain exceptions; and
  • On or around fishing vessels, unless certain conditions exist.

+Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0097.

Hours of Work

16- and 17-Year-Olds

Minor who are 16 or 17 years old may work:

  • Up to 44 hours per week (except for those working in organized youth camps or agricultural employment), or more than 44 hours with a special emergency overtime permit;
  • In a cannery, up to 10 hours per day, or more than 10 hours with a special emergency overtime permit; and
  • Up to 9:00 p.m., when working as a canvasser, a peddler or an outside salesman, from house to house.

+Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0067; +Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0265; see Employment Certificates.

15-Year-Olds and Younger

Minor who are under 16 years old may work:

  • Outside school hours;
  • Up to 40 hours per week when school is not in session;
  • Up to 18 hours per week when school is in session
  • Up to eight hours per day when school is not in session;
  • Up to three hours per day when school is in session; and
  • Between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. (to 9:00 p.m. June 1 through Labor Day).

Exceptions to these rules may be made for the following:

  • Enrollees in work training programs conducted under Part B of Title I of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964;
  • Students enrolled in a career exploration or other work experience program; and
  • Minors employed by a parent or person standing in the place of a parent, with authorization from the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BLI).

+Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0070.

No minor under 16 years of age may be assigned any duties in connection with an organized youth camp prior to 6 a.m. or after 10 p.m., or more than eight hours per day. +Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0097.

13-Year-Olds and Younger

Employment of minors under 14 years of age is generally prohibited. However, employers may apply for a work permit with the BLI. See Employment Certificates. The permit may be issued only if the minor's hours are limited to:

  • After school hours;
  • Up to two hours on a school day;
  • Up to six hours on Saturdays and Sundays;
  • Up to 18 hours per week;
  • Up to five days per week;
  • Up to eight hours per day, 40 hours per week and five days per week during vacation periods extending two weeks or longer; and
  • Between 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

+Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0246.

Show-Up Pay

An employer may not require any minor to report for work without providing adequate work to earn a reasonable compensation or otherwise paying a reasonable compensation. +Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0087(5); see Employee Compensation > Hours Worked: Oregon > Show-Up Time.

Break Periods

A meal period of at least 30 minutes must be provided in which the minor is relieved of all duties. It must begin within the first five hours and one minute after reporting for work.

A minor who is at least 16 years old may continue to perform duties or remain on call during the meal period if the nature of the minor's job prevents him or her from being relieved from duty. This time is not deducted from the minor's hours worked.

In addition to the meal period, a rest period of at least 15 minutes must be provided for every four hours (or major part thereof) worked in one work period. The minor must be relieved of all duties, and this time is not deducted from the minor's hours worked. The rest period should be provided approximately in the middle of each four-hour segment (or major part thereof), if possible, considering the nature and type of job.

+Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0072.


Oregon's child labor law does not apply to:

  • Minors who do domestic work or chores in or about a private residence;
  • Newspaper carriers and vendors; and
  • Referees or assistant referees in a youth or adult recreational soccer match.

+Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0500.

Employment Certificates

In order to employ a minor, an employer must obtain a validated employment certificate from the BLI. The certificate is valid for one year, and must be posted in a conspicuous place. If, after the certificate is issued, the minor's duties change or the employer wishes to employ minors at an additional establishment, the employer must submit a Notice of Change (to Annual Employment Certificate) to the BLI within 15 days of the change. +Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0220; see Employee Compensation > Recordkeeping for Employee Compensation Purposes: Oregon > Recordkeeping Requirements for Child Labor.

An employer must also verify the minor's age. Acceptable proof of age documents include, but are not limited to:

  • A birth certificate issued by any state, county or municipal authority;
  • A hospital record of birth;
  • A state-issued driver's license or a state-issued ID card with a photograph, or information, including date of birth;
  • A US Military Card;
  • A US Passport;
  • A Certificate of US Citizenship;
  • A Certificate of Naturalization;
  • An unexpired foreign passport with attached Employment Authorization;
  • An Alien Registration Card with photograph;
  • A Social Security Administration record indicating date of birth;
  • A Certificate of Age issued by the US Department of Labor; and
  • A baptismal record.

+Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0185.

Work Permit

Work permits issued by the BLI are required for minors under 14 years of age. The application must include a separate certification by the employer that the minor will be continuously supervised by a responsible adult. +Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0246; see Hours of Work.

Special Emergency Overtime Permit

Employers may not employ a 16- or 17-year-old for more than 44 hours a week without getting a special emergency overtime permit issued by the BLI. The permit will not be issued unless:

  • The number of hours do not exceed those allowed by law; and
  • The minor receives overtime pay for all hours worked over 40, unless otherwise exempt from the overtime pay provisions.

+Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0067(2).

A special emergency overtime permit is also available for minors working in a cannery for more than 10 hours in a day. The employer must submit a written application to the BLI, setting out the full and complete circumstances of the proposed employment. +Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0067(4).

Special Rules for Temporary Employment of Several Minors for a Short Duration

If an employer wishes to hire 10 or more minors for employment that ends on or by the 10th day from the date of hire, the employer has an alternative to complying with the requirements related to employment certificates and work permits. The employer may instead apply for a special permit by sending to the BLI, in writing, the full and complete circumstances of the proposed employment. +Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0255.

Registration Certificate

If an employer wishes to hire 16- and 17-year-olds to work as a canvasser, a peddler or an outside salesman, from house to house, the employer must obtain and maintain a validated registration certificate issued by the BLI. Employers may apply for a registration certificate at any time and may apply to renew their registration by July 1 of each year. The registration will be effective through the following June 30.

In addition, the employer must provide each minor with an identification card, as prescribed by the BLI, that must be shown to each customer or potential customer.

+Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0265; +Or. Admin. R. 839-021-0320.

Communications in Postings Required by Oregon Law

Oregon requires a poster relating to child labor and other requirements. There is a separate poster for agricultural employers. +ORS § 653.315(4).

Future Developments

There are no developments to report at this time. Continue to check XpertHR regularly for the latest information on this and other topics.