There are different laws and rules for youth working in agriculture, when compared to non-agricultural work. Agricultural jobs include working on farms, ranches, and in some packing and canning operations. In general, the minimum age for teens working in agricultural jobs is 14, and there are many prohibited tasks and jobs that minor workers are not allowed to do. However, there are some important exceptions to this rule.
For complete information on hiring youth for agricultural jobs, refer to the following pages:
Family Farm Exemption
Any child under 18 years old who is employed by their parent or legal guardian to do agricultural work on the family farm are exempt from child labor laws, industrial insurance requirements, age restrictions, etc. However, parents can voluntarily opt their children into the industrial insurance program (workers’ compensation). To do this, complete the Application For Exclusion/Inclusion of Mandatory Coverage (Family Farm). See RCW 51.12.020(6) for more information.
Older children working on a family farm
Children 18-21 who work on a family farm are required to be covered by industrial insurance (workers’ compensation) unless their parents opt-out of the requirement. This exclusion request must be filed with L&I by completing the application listed above.
Work allowed for youth 12-13 years old
Youth 12-13 years old may work during weeks when school is not in session hand-harvesting berries, bulbs, cucumbers, and spinach. This exemption is strictly defined. Harvest of any other crops is not allowed under this exemption, and mechanical harvesting is prohibited.