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Information about the minimum legal age to get a job in New Mexico, some information about what is needed to get a job and how you have to balance your time at work with your time at school.

How old do I have to be to get a job?
You must be at least 14 to get most types of jobs. Once you turn 18 you may perform any job just like other adults.

If I am under 14, are there any jobs that I can get?
Yes. If you are under age 14, there are areas of work that you may do:

Baby-sitting: Sometimes there are laws that say how old you must be to be left alone. You must be old enough to be left alone to baby-sit without an adult present.

Working for a family member: A member of your family can hire you to do some work for them. You can babysit, wash the car, pick-up leaves, etc. as long as the job is not in a mine or a manufacture (for example making t-shirts or assembling phones or other goods) and that it is not risky or dangerous for your health.

Child actors and performers: You can play in a TV series or in a movie if you are under 14 years old. However, there are certain rules that apply to you. See the section about “Child Actor or Performer”.

Delivering newspapers: When you are under 14 you can sell or deliver newspapers. However, you need your parent’s approval to accept the job and you can only deliver the newspapers outside of your regular school hours.

Farm Work:
10 and 11 year olds may work on their family’s farm, or another farm with their parent’s written consent. The work must be before or after school, and must not be dangerous.
12 and 13 year olds may work outside of school hours, if the job is not dangerous. They can do this with a parent’s written consent or work on the same farm as the parent(s).

What jobs can 14-15 year olds get?
14-15 year olds can work at a variety of jobs that are not dangerous but their work hours are restricted. If you are 14 or 15 years old and your job is not one of those listed above you will need a work permit.

Do I need a work permit?
You will need a work permit if you are 14 or 15 years old and your job is not one of those listed above (babysitting, working for a family member, acting or performing, or farm work – see info under “If I am under 14, are there any jobs that I can get?”)

Where do I get a work permit?
You must already have a job or be promised a job before you can get a work permit. You can get a work permit at your school, from your School District Superintendent’s office, or from a New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions office. You will need to bring a proof of your age with you. Documents that are acceptable to prove your age can be a birth certificate, a valid driver’s license, a state identification card (ID), a school ID, a military dependent ID, a Native American tribal documents, a Medicaid card, a US passport or baptismal records from the church where you were baptized.

You will also need to prove that the work you will be doing is not considered dangerous (see below for information about what jobs are considered dangerous for 14-15 year olds. Your parent or guardian must be with you when you apply for a work permit.

How long is the work permit valid?
Work permits are valid for one year and can be renewed. Once you turn 16, you do not need a work permit anymore.

Are there limits to the number of hours I can work?
If you are 14 or 15, the number of hours you can work per day and per week vary. You may work more hours when school is not in session.

When school is in session you may work outside of school hours for up to 3 hours per day on school days, up to 8 hours per day on non-school days, and a total of 18 hours per week. You can’t work during school hours except in the case of an apprenticeship program or a career exploration program with your school. During the school year, you can only work between 7 am and 7 pm.

When school is not in session you may work up to 8 hours a day and a total of 40 hours per week. When school is not in session, you may work between 7am and 9 pm.

If you are 16 or 17 years old, there are no limits to the number of hours you may work.

Child Actors and Performers

Are there any special rules if I work on a movie set?
If you work as an actor for a movie or a television production or you are acting in a play or doing radio commercials, different rules apply to you.

Are there times of day when I can’t work?
Your employer should have you work only between 5 am and 10 pm on evenings before a school day. Your employer can have you work until midnight when you do not have school the next day.

Can I work during school hours?
You can work during school hours. However, if your employer asks you to work during school hours, he needs to provide you with a qualified teacher.

Is there a limit to the number of hours I can work?
Yes, there are limitations on the number of hours you can work. They vary depending on your age. Children under six cannot work more than 6 hours per day. Children between six and nine can work a maximum of 8 hours per day; children between ten and fifteen can work a maximum of 9 hours per day and children that are sixteen or seventeen can work a maximum of 10 hours per day.

Contact the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions for more details about rules for these jobs. (505) 841-4414

Are there any jobs that I can’t do?
Depending on your age, there are some jobs that you can’t do because of the nature of the work, for example, if it is dangerous work. See below for a full listing of job restrictions for minors between age 14-17.

Jobs considered dangerous for 14 and 15 year olds:
Baking; Boiler or engine room work, whether in or about; Cooking, except with gas or electric grilles that do not involve cooking over an open flame and with deep fat fryers that are equipped with and utilize devices that automatically lower and raise the baskets in and out of the hot grease or oil; Freezer or meat cooler work; Loading or unloading goods on or off trucks, railcars or conveyors; Meat processing area work; Maintenance or repair of a building or its equipment; Operating, setting up, adjusting, cleaning, oiling, or repairing power-driven food slicers, grinders, choppers or cutters and bakery mixers; Outside window washing, or work standing on a window sill, ladder, scaffold or similar equipment; Warehouse work, except office and clerical work. Communications or public utilities jobs; Construction or repair jobs; Driving a motor vehicle or helping a driver; Manufacturing and mining occupations; Power-driven machinery or hoisting apparatus other than typical office machines; Processing occupations; Public messenger jobs; Transporting of persons or property; Workrooms where products are manufactured, mined or processed; Warehousing and storage

Jobs considered dangerous for 16 and 17 year olds:
Occupations involving or in connection with: Manufacturing and storing of explosives; Driving a motor vehicle and being an outside helper on a motor vehicle; Logging and sawmilling; Power-driven woodworking machines; Exposure to radioactive substances; Power-driven hoisting apparatus; Power-driven metal-forming, punching, and shearing machines; Mining; Meat packing or processing (including the use of power-driven meat slicing machines); Power-driven bakery machines; Power-driven paper product machines, including scrap paper balers and paper box compactors; Manufacturing brick, tile, and related products; Power-driven circular saws, band saws, and guillotine shears; Wrecking, demolition, and shipbreaking operations; Roofing operations and all work on or about a roof; Excavation operations.


New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions: (505) 841-4414

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