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.
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.
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.
Work permits are not required by Colorado law.
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.
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.
These exemptions do not pertain to hazardous occupations. The Provisions of the CYEOA do not apply to the following:
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.
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.
Definition of a Minor and Colorado Youth Employment Opportunity Act Exemptions, 1(III)
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