Youth employment laws

Employees under 18 years old have specific rules under Alberta’s laws. New standards come into effect May 1, 2018.

The legislation on this page comes into effect on May 1, 2018

For information on rules that apply to employees under the age of 18 until that time, go to

Basic rules

  • There are restrictions on the employment of persons under 18 years of age.
  • Regardless of age, all employees under 18 years of age are entitled to the minimum standards of employment, such as general holidays, vacations, minimum wage and termination notice or pay.
  • Some exceptions apply, such as to students in an approved training course or work experience program who may be exempt from the requirement to pay minimum wage.
  • The rules about allowable work will apply to youth workers on farms and ranches just as they apply in other industries. Children doing chores on the farm or helping out around the home are not considered to be in an employment relationship or performing “work”. Youth employment rules have no effect on youth activities such as 4-H or branding parties and won’t stop friends and neighbours from helping each other as they have done for generations.

Employers must also comply with the restrictions that apply to the following 3 age groups.

Employees 12 years of age and under

  • May only be employed in an artistic endeavour.
  • Can only be employed under the conditions of a permit issued by the employer to the Director of Employment Standards.
  • Hours of work restrictions will be determined during the approval process.
    • If school is in session, the employee can’t work later than 9:00 pm on a weeknight and 11:00 pm if the next day is a weekend day.

Employees 13 to 15 years of age

May be employed in:

  • Any job that is deemed to be light work.
  • An artistic endeavour.
  • Any other type of work authorized under a permit issued by the Director of Employment Standards that is not considered hazardous work (the permit application must include the consent of a parent, guardian or other person who has the lawful care, custody or control of the person seeking employment).

Additional information regarding what is considered light work will be available by May 1, 2018.


  • Employees between 13 and 15 years of age can’t be employed during the employee’s school hours unless they are enrolled in an off-campus educational program.
  • Youth 15 years of age and under can't work between 12:01 am and 6:00 am.

Employees 16 to 17 years of age

Employees who are 16 or 17 years of age will be eligible to work in all types of work except hazardous work unless authorized under a permit issued by the Director of Employment Standards or if it's part of an approved course of study such as a work integrated learning program. The Registered Apprenticeship Program is an example of an approved work integrated learning program.

Artistic Endeavours

Youth 12 years of age and under are only allowed to work jobs that are considered artistic endeavours.

An artistic endeavour means work in:

  • recorded entertainment
    • film, radio, video or television
    • television and radio commercials
  • voice recordings for video and computer gaming
  • live performancesentertainment industry
    • theatre plays
    • musical performances

Hazardous Work

Hazardous work will be defined in reference to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation.

  • Hazardous work is prohibited for any person aged 15 years or under
  • Hazardous work is permitted for those between 16 and 17 years of age only under the following conditions:
    • the employer applies for and receives a permit from Employment Standards, which will outline the conditions of employment;
    • the permit application includes the consent of a parent, guardian or other person that has the lawful care, custody or control of the individual seeking employment;
    • the health, safety and well-being of the individual are protected; and
    • the individual is supervised by a responsible adult while the work is being performed and adequately trained in advance.

Additional information regarding what is considered hazardous work will be available by May 1, 2018.

How the law applies

Part 2, Division 9 of the Employment Standards Code (Code) and Part 5 of the Regulation outline the rules for employing youth under 18.

Disclaimer: In the event of any discrepancy between this information and Alberta Employment Standards legislation, the legislation is considered correct.

Contact Employment Standards

780-427-3731 (Edmonton and surrounding areas)
1-877-427-3731 (Toll-free)
From a cell phone, call #310 on Telus and Bell or *310 on Rogers.
Ask a question online

TTY/TDD for the deaf or hard of hearing:
780-427-9999 (Edmonton and surrounding areas)
1-800-232-7215 (Toll-free)