How Old Do You Have to Be to Work at McDonald’s: Age Requirements Explained

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By Jacob Maslow

For many young people, landing their first job is a rite of passage. Fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s are popular entry-level job options due to their widespread presence and flexible hours. However, aspiring employees may wonder about age restrictions related to working at this well-known chain.

Various factors influence the minimum age required for working at McDonald’s, including the location and specific roles within the restaurant. Generally, the minimum age for crew members is 14, but requirements can vary by state or country laws. Potential employees need to investigate the laws applicable to their region.

Aside from legal age limits, McDonald’s is known for its inclusive employment policies and dedication to providing opportunities to individuals from diverse backgrounds. As a result, first-time job seekers can expect a welcoming and supportive environment as they embark on their employment journey with the fast-food giant.

Minimum Age Requirements and Work Permits

Federal Law

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the minimum age for working at McDonald’s is 14. Minors can work in certain positions such as cashier, cleaning, and kitchen staff but cannot perform hazardous tasks at this age. The allowable hours for 14- and 15-year-olds are restricted to:

  • 3 hours per day on school days
  • 8 hours per day on non-school days
  • 18 hours per week in school weeks
  • 40 hours per week in non-school weeks

State Regulations

In addition to federal laws, each state has its regulations for employing minors. Some states may require a work permit typically obtained through the school district. It is crucial to check the specific rules and regulations in the state where the McDonald’s restaurant is located. While federal law sets the minimum age at 14, some state laws may be more restrictive, requiring a higher minimum age for employment.

Work permits, when required, must be obtained before starting work at McDonald’s. The school typically issues them and may require verification of the employer and details about the job. To maintain the work permit, minors must adhere to regulations regarding hours, tasks, and other restrictions applicable in the state.

In conclusion, McDonald’s employs individuals as young as 14, depending on federal and state regulations. It is essential to check state laws and obtain work permits if needed, ensuring compliance with all rules governing the employment of minors.

mcdonalds uk

Job Positions Available for Teenagers

Crew Member

A crew member position at McDonald’s is a popular choice for young individuals seeking entry-level jobs. In this role, teenagers learn valuable customer service skills while working in a fast-paced environment. They are responsible for various tasks, including food preparation, maintaining cleanliness and hygiene, and ensuring a positive customer experience.

  • Age requirement: Typically, applicants must be at least 14 years old
  • Key responsibilities: Food preparation, customer service, maintaining cleanliness and hygiene


Cashiers at McDonald’s serve as the first point of contact for customers. This role is another option for teenagers who want to gain experience in customer service. As a cashier, they will handle transactions, greet customers, and ensure accurate orders.

  • Age requirement: Typically, applicants must be at least 14 years old
  • Key responsibilities: Handling transactions, customer service, maintaining accuracy in orders


For teenagers interested in food preparation, McDonald’s offers cook positions. Cooks work in a fast-paced environment, following strict hygiene and cleanliness standards to prepare menu items. This role allows young people to develop skills in food preparation and kitchen operations.

  • Age requirement: Typically, applicants must be at least 16 years old
  • Key responsibilities: Food preparation, maintaining cleanliness and hygiene, following safety procedures

How to Apply and Get Hired at McDonald’s

Company-Owned Restaurants

To apply at a company-owned McDonald’s restaurant, candidates can follow these steps:

  1. Visit the McDonald’s Careers website and search for available positions in the desired location.
  2. Create an account to submit an online application.
  3. Fill out the necessary personal information and job preferences in the application form.
  4. Complete any required assessments as part of the hiring process.
  5. After submission, check the application status periodically for updates on the hiring process.

McDonald’s also offers a mobile app that makes it easier for candidates to search and apply for jobs. Download the app and create an account to access the same features as the Careers website.

Franchise Locations

For those interested in working at a franchise location, it is important to note that the hiring process might vary slightly. To apply:

  1. Determine if the desired restaurant is a franchise-owned location. This information can typically be found on the McDonald’s Careers website.
  2. Contact the specific franchise directly to inquire about their hiring process, as it may differ from the company-owned restaurant process.
  3. Follow the franchise’s application procedure, which may require applying in person, online, or through a separate website.

In both company-owned and franchise locations, applicants should expect a possible interview and may need to provide references. Ensure to showcase excellent customer service skills and a willingness to learn throughout the process.

Working Hours and School Days

During school days, McDonald’s prioritizes the education of student employees. Teenagers as young as 14 can work at McDonald’s, but their working hours are limited. On school days, they can only work a maximum of 3 hours and not more than 18 hours per week. Shifts typically start after school hours, ensuring students can focus on their studies during the day.

On non-school days, student employees have more flexibility in their working hours. They can work up to 8 hours daily and up to 40 hours weekly. These extended hours provide ample opportunities for students to earn extra income during weekends and school breaks.

It is important to note the different restrictions depending on the age of the employee:

  • 14-15 years old:
    • School days:
      • Maximum 3 hours per day
      • Not more than 18 hours per week
    • Non-school days:
      • Maximum 8 hours per day
      • Up to 40 hours per week
  • 16-17 years old:
    • School days:
      • Limited hours to ensure school attendance is not affected
    • Non-school days:
      • Increased flexibility in working hours, with some limitations

All student employees need parental consent and appropriate work permits, depending on the jurisdiction, to ensure they work within legal boundaries. McDonald’s promotes a supportive environment for young employees, prioritizing academic success while offering valuable work experience.

McDonald's Big Mac Menu

Training and Employee Perks

McDonald’s offers comprehensive training programs for employees at all levels, from entry-level crew members to shift leads and shift managers. This training ensures that each worker is proficient and can provide excellent customer service.

Employees can take advantage of on-the-job training, resources, and learning modules offered through McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity program. Available courses cover various topics, such as time management, communication, and leadership skills.

In addition to training, McDonald’s offers several perks and benefits for its employees, including:

  • Flexible scheduling: McDonald’s understands that its employees have varying needs and commitments outside of work, and they strive to accommodate these as much as possible.
  • Competitive wages: McDonald’s offers competitive pay rates, with opportunities for advancement and salary increases based on performance and experience.
  • Growth opportunities: Many employees start as crew members and work up to shift lead or shift manager positions, gaining valuable experience and skills.

The table below shows a general overview of some benefits available to McDonald’s employees, depending on their position:

Position Benefits
Crew Member Flexible scheduling, competitive wages, employee discounts
Shift Lead Additional training, potential salary increases, leadership opportunities
Shift Manager Comprehensive benefits package (e.g., health insurance, 401k), increased responsibility

Working at McDonald’s can be a valuable experience for individuals looking to gain skills and knowledge in the fast-food industry. The extensive training and employee perks make it an attractive option for those interested in career growth and development.

Labor Laws and Safety Considerations

In most countries, labor laws dictate the minimum age for a worker at McDonald’s. Usually, this minimum age can be as young as 14, although the specific age may differ depending on the area or the type of work. The employer must adhere to these age restrictions to ensure the safety of young workers.

Young workers, particularly those under 18, often face more stringent labor laws due to their age. These may include limits on the hours they are allowed to work, mandatory breaks during shifts, and supervision requirements. Supervisors play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and well-being of these young employees by providing guidance, training, and monitoring their progress.

Safety considerations for young workers at McDonald’s extend beyond labor laws. Hygiene and cleanliness are of paramount importance in the fast food industry. All employees, including young workers, learn to follow strict hygiene protocols, ensuring they maintain cleanliness and reduce any potential risks to public health. This also protects the health and safety of employees within the establishment.

The Department of Labor regulates and oversees companies to ensure compliance with labor laws, including wage and hour regulations. McDonald’s must pay young workers at least the minimum wage mandated by law. Failure to adhere to these labor laws can lead to significant fines and penalties for McDonald’s.

In conclusion, labor laws and safety considerations are critical in determining the minimum age for a worker at McDonald’s. Young workers are subject to stricter regulations, and their supervisors closely monitor their well-being. By adhering to these guidelines, McDonald’s can provide a safe working environment for their employees and maintain a high standard of hygiene and cleanliness at their establishments.

Work Experience at McDonald’s

Working at McDonald’s offers a great opportunity for individuals seeking to gain fast food industry experience. McDonald’s is known for its fast-paced environment, allowing employees to develop a strong work ethic and customer service skills.

The minimum age to work at McDonald’s varies depending on the country and local labor laws. In the United States, the minimum age is generally 14 years old, with some exceptions depending on the position and location. Applicants should check with their local McDonald’s for specific age requirements.

Employees at McDonald’s typically start in entry-level positions, such as crew members. Crew members are responsible for various tasks, including taking orders, preparing food, and maintaining a clean restaurant. As employees gain experience, they may be able to advance into shift manager or store manager roles.

Some benefits of working at McDonald’s include:

  • Flexible hours
  • Employee discounts
  • Opportunities for growth and development
  • Scholarships and educational assistance

McDonald’s also provides training programs for their employees, ensuring they are well-equipped for their roles in fast food restaurants. These training programs cover customer service, food safety, and other essential skills for working in a fast-paced environment.

Overall, McDonald’s offers a valuable work experience for individuals looking to hone their skills and grow within the fast food industry.

Additional Information

In Kentucky, McDonald’s restaurants often provide employment opportunities for young individuals seeking work. Many 14-year-olds are eligible for employment, which allows them to earn pocket money and gain valuable work experience.

McDonald’s is an ideal place to start building a work history, especially for those new to the job market. It offers flexible hours, which can be beneficial for young people who are still attending school. Moreover, various role options, such as crew members or cashiers, are available for young workers.

It is important to note that in Kentucky specifically, certain working hour restrictions are set for minors. However, McDonald’s management adheres to these guidelines and ensures that 14-year-olds are scheduled for work within those limitations. As a result, young employees can balance their work and school commitments successfully.

Remember that different positions at McDonald’s may require different minimum age requirements. Therefore, applicants should research available positions and their respective age limits before applying to work at McDonald’s.

In summary, McDonald’s in Kentucky offers great opportunities for 14-year-olds to earn pocket money, gain work experience, and learn valuable life skills.


What is the minimum age requirement to work at McDonald’s?

Generally, the minimum age requirement to work at McDonald’s is 14. However, the age requirement may vary depending on the location and job position. It is best to check with your local McDonald’s or review their employment policies for exact details.

Are there any specific positions available for young employees?

Yes, McDonald’s offers various positions for young employees, such as:

  • Crew Member
  • Cashier
  • Cook

These positions typically involve customer service, food preparation, and maintaining the cleanliness of the restaurant. McDonald’s also offers opportunities for young employees to advance within the company through their management training programs.

Do young employees need a work permit to work at McDonald’s?

Depending on the region and the laws governing employment for minors, a work permit may be required. If you are under 18, it is essential to check the requirements in your area and obtain the necessary documentation before applying for a job at McDonald’s.

What is the typical hiring process for young employees at McDonald’s?

The hiring process at McDonald’s usually consists of the following steps:

  1. Online application: Candidates should go to the McDonald’s career website and search for available positions in their area. Fill out the online application form, including relevant work experience and availability.
  2. In-person interview: If the application is successful, candidates may be invited to in-person interviews with the store manager. The interview will comprise questions about the applicant’s skills, experience, and why they want to work at McDonald’s.
  3. Background check and documentation: Successful applicants may undergo a background check and be asked to provide documentation, such as a valid work permit if required.
  4. Orientation and training: Once hired, young employees will attend orientation and training sessions to learn about McDonald’s policies, procedures, and safety guidelines.

Remember that the hiring process may vary depending on your location, so it is essential to stay informed and follow the specific steps outlined by the McDonald’s you are applying to.

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