Youth Employment Standards Act & Requirements for 17-Year-Olds to Serve Alcohol

Guidelines for 17-Year-Olds Serving Alcohol

1. The employer must follow all applicable laws in the Youth Employment Standards Act.

2. They cannot work at an establishment where alcohol constitutes 50% or more of the business' total sales. 

3. They must be under the direct supervision of someone 18 or older. 

4. They must successfully complete an alcohol server training course (e.g.

FAQ: Youth Employment Standards Act

Download the Full FAQ Here!

Download the Full Act Here!

Who is covered by the YESA act?
The Youth Employment Standards Act, 1978 Public Act 90, covers all businesses which employ minors under the age of 18 in the State of Michigan. When both state and federal youth employment laws apply to a business, the law with the most stringent standard controls.

Is a work permit required for a minor before starting work?
Yes, unless the minor is exempt. A minor may contact any local Michigan school where the employer or the minor is located to have a work permit issued. “Issuing officer” means the chief administrator of a school district, intermediate school district, public school academy, or nonpublic school, or a person authorized by that chief administrator in writing to act on his or her behalf.

Are there restrictions on minors in establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold or served?
Yes. Minors shall not work in an establishment where alcohol sales are 50% or more of total sales. If the sale of food or other goods constitutes 50% or more of the total sales, the establishment may employ minors, however, minors 14 and 15 years may not work in, or about, or in connection with that part of the establishment where alcohol is consumed or sold for consumption on the premises. Minors may not sell or serve alcohol under Liquor Control Commission regulations.

Do minors need to be supervised?
Yes. A minor shall not work unless the employer, or his or her employee at least 18 years of age, provides
supervision. The supervisor must ensure immediate assistance is available in case of an emergency.

What hours may a minor age 16- and 17-years work?
Minors age 16 and 17 years may not work more than 6 days in a workweek, 10 hours in a day, or a weekly average of 8 hours per day. Their weekly hours may not exceed 24 hours per workweek when school is in session whether in person or remotely and 48 hours per workweek when school is not in session. Minors age 16 and 17 years may not start before 6:00 a.m. or work past 10:30 p.m. Sunday to Thursday or past 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, during school vacation periods that are at least 7 days long, or when a minor is not enrolled in school unless an hours deviation with parental consent is obtained.

How can an employer apply for an hours deviation for 16 and 17-year-old minors?
Approval may be granted for 16 and 17-year-old minors to work beyond the starting and ending times specified in the act. Approvals may be obtained from the Wage and Hour Division. The application for hours deviation may be submitted online at The employer will be required to have a valid work permit and written parental approval for a minor to work deviated hours. Deviations are not granted for working more hours only for working earlier or later than the act requires. Deviations are not granted for 14 and 15-year-old minors. 

May a minor work during school hours?
No. A minor shall not be employed during the hours they are required to attend school, either online or in person. An employer should keep copies of the minors’ school schedules to ensure minors are not working during their required school hours.

What are employer recordkeeping requirements under the act?
Employers must keep in or about the premises where minors are employed proof of age, work permits or proofs of exemption, and time records that state the number of hours worked by the minor each day together with starting and ending times of shifts and 30-minute breaks for not less than 1 year; however, there may be other laws, such as 1978 Public Act 390, the Payment of Wages and Fringe Benefit Act, and 2018 Public Act 337, the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act that may require payroll records, hours worked, and fringe benefit documentation be maintained for not less than 3 years. These records shall be open to the Wage and Hour Division at any reasonable time.

Does the Youth Employment Standards Act contain a posting requirement?
Yes. The Youth Employment Standards Act poster may be downloaded from the Wage and Hour Division’s website,, or copies may be requested by calling 855-464-9243 (855-4MI-WAGE).

Which occupations and minors are exempt from the regulations outlined in the act?
Some of the common exemptions include (but are not limited to):
a. 16-year-old minor who has graduated from high school with proof on file at the worksite
b. 17-year-old minor who has passed the general educational development (GED) test with proof on file at the worksite
c. Emancipated minor with proof on file at the worksite
d. A minor on a valid cooperative agreement or work-based learning program when a contract is entered into between the employer and school with a copy of the executed agreement on file at the worksite
e. Domestic chores in connection with a private residence
f. Employment in a business owned and operated by the parent or legal guardian of the minor
g. Employment of a minor at least 14 years of age at the school where the minor is enrolled
h. Farm work if the employment is not in violation of a standard established by the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. “Farm work” includes any practices performed on a farm as an incident to or in conjunction with farming operations, including preparation for market and delivery to storage, market, or carriers for transport to market.

What are the penalties against an employer for violating the act?
An employer who violates the act is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or a fine of not more than $500, or both. There are higher penalties for violations of adult supervision when minors are involved in cash transactions after sunset or 8:00 p.m. whichever is earlier.

How do I file a complaint for violations of the Youth Employment Standards Act?
Complaints may be filed online at or phoned in at 855-464-9243 (855-4MI-WAGE).

What if I have additional questions?
Please visit or call 855-464-9243 (855-4MI-WAGE).

Where can I obtain more information about the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and its Child Labor
Please visit the United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour’s website at or call 866-487-9243 (866-4US-Wage).

Where can I find more information about workplace safety and personal protective equipment?
Please visit the Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Administration (MIOSHA) website at or call 800-866-4674 (800-TO-MIOSH).