Youth Employment Laws


Colorado Youth Employment Opportunity Act of 1971 (CYEOA)

The Division of Labor has authority over the regulation of the employment of minors in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to: permissible occupations, work hour restrictions, and hazardous occupations.

Definition of a Minor

A minor is any person under the age of 18, except a person who has received a high school diploma or a passing score on the general educational development (GED) examination.

Colorado Youth Employment Opportunity Act of 1971 
Youth Law Fact Sheet

Federal Youth Employment Laws

The Colorado Youth Employment Opportunity Act (CYEOA) of 1971 is a state law regulating youth employment in the state of Colorado.  In addition to reviewing the restrictions under the CYEOA, the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) should be reviewed.  The FLSA is a federal law and its regulations do not permit the employment of minors in a variety of circumstances.  The Colorado Division of Labor is a state agency and cannot intervene or assist in matters involving the application and interpretation of federal laws.

When both federal and state laws apply, the more stringent standard must be observed. For more information about federal law and the FLSA, please contact the U.S. Department of Labor at 720-264-3250 or 866-487-9243.

Federal Youth and Labor Topics
Federal Youth Rules!

Permits and Certificates

Work Permits

Work permits are not required by Colorado law.

Age Certificates

Any employer desiring proof of the age of any minor employee or prospective employee may require the minor to submit an age certificate. Age certificates are issued by or under the authority of the school superintendent of the district or county in which the applicant resides.

School Release Permits

Any minor fourteen or fifteen years of age who wishes to work on school days during school hours shall first secure a school release permit. Such permit is issued only by the school district superintendent, his agent, or some other person designated by the board of education.

Exemptions from the CYEOA

These exemptions do not pertain to hazardous occupations.  The Provisions of the CYEOA do not apply to the following:

  • Schoolwork and supervised educational activities.
  • Home chores.
  • Work done for a parent or guardian, except where the parent or guardian receives any payment therefore.
  • Newsboys and newspaper carriers.
  • Actors, models, and performers are exempt from the age-related restrictions for minors under age fourteen.

Additional Youth Exemptions

The Director of the Division of Labor may grant exemptions from some provisions of the CYEOA. Any employer, minor, minor's parents or guardian, school official, or youth employment specialist may request an exemption. Exemptions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and are granted or denied in accordance with the best interests of the minor. Exemption determinations involve the scrutiny of such factors as the minor's previous training and safety concerns.

Complaints: Youth Law Violations

If you wish to file a complaint with the Division, you must fully complete and submit to the Division a Request for Mediation form. The form includes instructions on the complaint process and the authority of the Division of Labor. For a youth exemption request, please contact the Division.

Youth Law Violation: Online Complaint Submission
Youth Law Violation: Printable Form



Advisory Bulletins:

Definition of a Minor and Colorado Youth Employment Opportunity Act Exemptions, 1(III)

  • Youth Employment Permissible Occupations, 2(III)
  • Age Certificates and School Release Permits, 3(III)
  • Hazardous Occupations for Minors, 4(III)
  • Comparison Of Colorado and Federal Laws, 5(III)
  • Sale and Serving of Alcoholic Beverages, 6(III)
  • Work Hours, 7(III)
  • Motor Vehicle Operation, 8(III)

Colorado Youth Employment Opportunity Act 


Fair Labor Standards Act
Federal Youth & Labor
Federal Hazardous Occupations

Quick Links

Fact Sheet: Colorado Youth Employment Opportunity Act  
Permissible Occupations for Youth
Hazardous Occupations Prohibited for Youth  
Youth Work Hours 
Youth Sale and Serving of Alcoholic Beverages
Comparison of Federal vs. State Youth Employment Laws