Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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Employment Laws

For questions regarding youth laws or to file a complaint regarding youth laws, you can call 605.773.3681.

Youth Employment

South Dakota has a complex set of youth employment laws.

Children younger than 16 years may not be employed:

  • In any occupation dangerous to life, health or morals*
  • For more than four hours per school day or 20 hours per school week*
  • For more than eight hours per non-school day or 40 hours per non-school week*
  • Later than 10 p.m. on a school night*
    Furthermore, children younger than 14 years may not be employed:
    • During school hours
    • Later than 7 p.m.*

Various exceptions to these laws exist for child actors, jobs pumping gas or detasselling hybrid seed corn, employment by parents, employment necessary for the child's support or employment using agricultural equipment. Youth employment laws also cover the facilities in which a child may work, how often it must be cleaned and when it can be inspected.

See South Dakota Codified Laws related to youth employment (60-12, subsections 1-14).

*Federal laws create requirements that are more stringent in many cases. See our Federal Youth Labor Laws FAQ (Adobe PDF format). For more information about federal youth employment laws, see the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) YouthRules website. More information on federal laws related specifically to youth working in agricultural occupations and on federal laws related to youth working for their own parents is also available on the U.S. DOL website.

Do not employ youth without a thorough understanding of the relevant laws.

Employer Webinar on Youth Employment Laws

A recording of the "Youth Employment Laws: What You Need to Know," webinar is available on YouTube. Offered jointly by the South Dakota Retailers Association and DLR, the webinar can help employers navigate federal and state youth employment laws.

YouTube video: Employer Webinar on Youth Employment Laws


The information provided on this page should in no way be considered legal advice. For specific information about your legal rights, you should consult your personal attorney. If you have a general question, contact us.