The Law on Child Labor and Agricultural Work

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General information about what rules agricultural employers must follow to employ persons under 18 years of age. #2606EN

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Agricultural employers must have a permit to hire workers under age 18. They must post a copy of the permit at the workplace. They must also get permission from parents and school officials.

Can children under age 14 work in agriculture?

Generally, no. The law makes exceptions for hand harvest of berries, bulbs and cucumbers, and hand cultivation of spinach during weeks when school is not in session.

Can minors ages 14 and 15 work in agriculture?

Yes, up to three hours a day before or after school, and up to 21 hours a week during school weeks.  School days, the earliest starting and latest finish times are 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Non-school weeks, they can work up to eight hours per day, 40 hours per week. Non-school days, start and finish times are 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Are there special rules for minors ages 16 and 17?

Yes. They can work up to four hours a day before or after school, up to 28 hours during school weeks. Non-school weeks, they can generally work up to 10-hour days, up to 50 hours per week. Start and finish times are generally 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.  hey can only work up to 9 p.m. on consecutive school nights before a school day.

Other regulations also apply. 

What if I still have questions after reading this?

Contact the nearest office of the Department of Labor and Industries:

  • (509) 454-3700 or 1-800-354-5423 (Yakima, Employment Standards)

  • 1-800-292-5920 Wenatchee

  • 1-800-547-9411 Tri-Cities

  • (509) 527-4437 Walla Walla

This publication provides general information concerning your rights and responsibilities.  It is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice. 
This information is current as of November 2018.
© 2018 Northwest Justice Project — 1-888-201-1014

(Permission for copying and distribution granted to the Alliance for Equal Justice and to individuals for
non-commercial use only.)


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Last Review and Update: Nov 27, 2018
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