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Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Employment Related Provisions in State Compulsory School Attendance Laws

January 1, 2011

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Table of Employment Related Provisions in State Compulsory School Attendance Laws By State

State

Age of Required School Attendance

Exemptions 1/ Employed

High School Graduate

from

to

Age

Completion of Grade

Alabama

7
 


3

17
 


21

legally and regularly employed under child labor law.

permitted for special education students.

---

X

Alaska

7

16

---

---

X

Arizona

6

16

14 with parental consent and gainfully employed.

---

---

Arkansas

5

17 must complete school year.

---

---

X

California

6

18

---

---

X

Colorado

7

16

has current age and school certificate or work permit.

---

X

Connecticut

5

18

16  with parental consent.

---

---

Delaware

5

16

---

---

---

District of Columbia

5

18

children who are age 5 by September 30 are required to be enrolled in kindergarten.

---

---

Florida

6

16

may terminate attendance at 16 if he/she files a formal declaration of intent to terminate school enrollment with the school district.

---

---

Georgia

6

16

---

---

X

Hawaii

6

18

15

---

X

Idaho

7

16

---

---

---

Illinois

7

17

employed and excused by school official.

---

---

Indiana

7

18

16 with consent of parent and principal.

14 if a parent agrees and State Labor bureau issues a certificate.

must go back to school within 5 days of termination of employment for which certificate was issued.

---

X

Iowa

6

16

---

---

X

Kansas

7

18

16 with parental consent.

---

---

Kentucky

6

16

---

---

X

Louisiana

7

18 or
17 with parental consent.

---

---

X

Maine

7

17

15 or

9

X

Maryland

5

16

---

---

---

Massachusetts

6

16

14

---

---

Michigan

6

18

---

---

---

Minnesota

7

16

---

---

X

Mississippi

6

17

5 years of age if in public kindergarten.

---

---

Missouri

7

17

14

---

---

Montana

7

16 or
completion of 8th grade, whichever is later.

---

---

---

Nebraska

7

18

16 with parental consent; special legislation for home schooling.

8

 

---

X

Nevada

7

upper age limit has been changed to 18 unless the child has graduated from high school.

14 and excused by board of trustees.
14 if work is necessary for own or parents' support.

8

 

---

X

New Hampshire

6

16 presently; however, effective July 2009, upper age limit will change to 18 or the student must have received diploma or qualifies for exception. With passage of NH House Bill 927, all districts are making plans to offer kindergarten.

---

---

---

New Jersey

6

16

---

---

---

New Mexico

5, or 8 if parents and school board agree

effective July 1, 2007, neither school districts or state chartered school districts shall excuse a student from attending school except as provided by law or for parent-authorized medical reasons.

---

---

X

New York

6

17 in cities with 4,500 or more population and union-free school districts, otherwise 16 if approved by local school board.


---

---

X

North Carolina 3

7

16

---

---

---

North Dakota

7

16

necessary to support of family.

---

X

Ohio

6

18

16 with parents' and superintendent's permission.

---

X

Oklahoma

5

18 or
16 if excused by written joint agreement.

---

---

X

Oregon

7

18 or excused by district school board;
16 with consent of school administration and parent;
21 for a child with a disability.

16

---

X

Pennsylvania

8

17

16 if regularly engaged in employment with a certificate.

15 in farm work or domestic service in private home with permit.
Or, 14 employed as above if completed elementary school with permit recommended by district superintendent of schools or principal of private school.

---

X

Rhode Island 2

6

18

16 with written parental consent.
Dropout Prevention Act of 2007.

---

---

South Carolina

5

17

16
further attendance is determined by court to be disruptive, unproductive or not in best interest of child.

8th grade completed and
employment is necessary for maintenance of home.

X

South Dakota

6

16 or
completion of 8th grade if member of certain religious organizations.

effective July 1, 2009, the upper limit of the compulsory age law changes to 18.

---

---

---

Tennessee

6

18th birthday.

---

local exemptions at 17th birthday for discipline problems.

X

Texas

6

18; person 18 years of age may enroll but failure to attend can result in permanent revocation if 5 or more unexcused absences occur in a semester. Students suspected of violating school attendance laws when apprehended must be taken into custody and delivered to their school campus.

---

---

---

Utah

6

18

16 and 8th grade completed.

home schooled minors has exempt from attendance.

8th for employment purposes.

X

Vermont

6

16

Completed 10th grade (with certain conditions) or 15 and completed 6th grade and services needed for support of family.

---

---

Virginia

5

18

exempt any pupil with parent's consent along with that of  principal or superintendent or a court which believes the minor cannot benefit from education at school.

---

X

Washington

8

18
16 and parent agrees that child should not be required to attend, or child is emancipated, or child has received certificate of competence.

16

---

X and age 16

West Virginia

6

16

---

---

X

Wisconsin

6

18

---

---

X

Wyoming

7

16

---

---

---

1 Nearly all States exempt those whose physical or mental condition precludes attendance. Other exemptions not directly related to employment include those because of distance from school or school transportation; expulsion, suspension or determined to be disruptive; marriage; excused by court or judge; and receiving religious education.

2 The Dropout Prevention Act is a comprehensive program to have all the schools within the state make an attempt to keep students in school. There were no changes to the age limits for school attendance, but the establishment of a state-wide program is a major effort to prevent students from leaving school early - for any reason. The school principal may revoke a permit if a child fails to comply with school attendance requirements.

3 All students who have passed the fifth birthday on or before August 31 of the year who are presented for enrollment within the first 120 days of the school year must be allowed to enter school.

Prepared By:

Division of Communications
Wage and Hour Division
U.S. Department of Labor

This document was last revised in December 2010.