Labor Standards

The Labor Standards Unit enforces workplace laws and ensures that Rhode Island's employees receive the wages they have earned. Labor Standards investigates wage complaints involving minimum wage, payment of wages, overtime, Sunday/holiday premium pay, and vacation pay upon termination, as well as child labor, parental and family medical leave, and industrial homework.

Read the Guide to Wage and Workplace Laws in Rhode Island

RI Minimum Wage

As of 10/1/2020 RI Minimum Wage is


  • Full-time students under 19 years of age working in nonprofit religious, educational, librarial, or community service organizations: As of 10/1/20 — $10.35 (90% of applicable minimum)

  • 14 and 15-year-olds who do not work more than 24 hours in a week: For any week in which a 14 or 15-year-old works more than 24 hours, the higher applicable minimum rate must be paid for all hours worked in that week. As of 10/1/20 — $8.63 per hour (75% of applicable minimum).

  • Workers employed in domestic service in or about a private home, federal service, voluntary service in educational, charitable, religious or nonprofit organizations where employer/employee relationships do not exist, such as newspaper carriers on home delivery, shoe shine persons, caddies on golf courses, ushers in theaters, traveling or outside sales occupations.

    Service performed by an individual employed by a son or daughter or a minor child employed by the parent.

    Occupations in resort establishments serving meals to the general public that are not open more than 6 months during the year-between May 1 and October 1 only - and any individual employed by an organized camp having a structured program, including but not limited to, recreation, education and religion or any combination thereof. Such an individual must not be employed by the organization on an annual full-time basis and such a camp must not operate for more than 7 months in any calendar year. This exemption does not apply to employees of trailer camps. (RI General Law 28-12)

  • Employees receiving gratuities: As of Jan. 1, 2017, allowance for gratuities as part of the hourly wage rate for restaurants, hotels, and other industries except taxicabs and limited public motor vehicles shall be an amount equal to the applicable minimum rates as provided by §§ 28-12-3 and 28-12-3.1 less $3.89 per hour.

For more information, please see RI General Law §28-12.

Legal Holidays in RI

The following are legal holidays in Rhode Island:

  • New Year's Day - January 1
  • Memorial Day - Last Monday in May
  • Independence Day - July 4
  • Victory Day - 2nd Monday in August
  • Labor Day - 1st Monday in September

  • Columbus Day - 2nd Monday in October
  • Veterans Day - November 11
  • Thanksgiving Day - 4th Thursday in November
  • Christmas Day - December 25

Child Labor Laws

There are state, as well as federal laws, that regulate the employment of minors. The following provides information about the hours and types of occupations that minors may work and explains how to obtain the permits and certificates needed to comply with the laws. Following the rules and restrictions ensures that Rhode Island's youth are able to work and earn in safe environments while furthering their education and gaining work experience.

What jobs can you do?
Permitted Jobs Include:

Office and clerical work, including operation of office machines

Cashiering, selling, modeling art work, work in advertising departments, window trimming and comparative shopping

Price marketing and tagging by hand or by machine, assembling orders, packing and shelving

Bagging and carrying out customers’ orders

Errand and delivery work by foot, bicycle and public transport

Cleanup work, including the use of vacuum cleaners and non-commercial floor waxers, and maintenance of grounds, but not including the use of power-driven mowers or cutters

Kitchen work and other work involved in preparing and serving food and beverages, including the operation of machines and devices used in the performance of such work, such as, dishwashers, toasters, dumbwaiters, popcorn poppers and milkshake blenders

Cleaning vegetables and fruits, and wrapping, sealing, labeling, weighing, pricing and stocking goods when performed in areas physically separate from areas where meat is prepared for sale, and from outside freezers or meat coolers.

When can you work?
If you're 14 or 15 you cannot work:

  • During school hours.
  • Before 6:00 am or after 7:00 pm, except during school vacations when work is permitted until 9:00 pm For businesses covered by federal law, work is permitted from 7:00 am until 9:00 pm from June 1 until Labor Day.
  • More than eight hours per day. For businesses covered by federal law, more than 3 hours per day on school days.
  • More than 40 hours per week. For businesses covered by federal law, more than 18 hours per week in school weeks, or more than 40 hours per week in non-school weeks.

Exception - An exception is provided for minors employed pursuant to a Work Experience and Career Exploration Program (WECEP).

If you're 16 or 17, you cannot work:

  • More than 48 hours per week.
  • More than 9 hours per day (or 9 3/5 hours per day for a 5-day work week).
  • Before 6 am or after 11:30 PM (1:30 AM if no school the next day).
  • Without an 8-hour respite between the end of a shift on one day and the start of work the next day.

Exception - There are no hour limitations during school vacations. There are no limitations on hours or a curfew for 16 and 17 year olds who have left school.

Prohibited Occupations
Prohibited Hazardous Occupations FOR ALL MINORS Under the Age of 18

  • Production and storage of explosives
  • Coal mining
  • Logins and saw milling
  • Power-driven woodworking machines
  • Exposure to radioactive substances
  • Power-driven hoisting apparatu
  • Power-driven metal-forming, punching and shearing machines
  • Slaughtering or meat packing, processing or rending
  • Power-driven meat slicer
  • Pow-driven bakery machines
  • Manufacturing brick, tile and kindred products
  • Power-driven circular saws, band saws and guillotine shears
  • Wrecking demolition and ship breaking operations
  • Roofing operations
  • Excavation operations

Prohibited Hazardous Occupations FOR ALL MINORS 14 -15

  • Any Manufacturing or Mining job
  • Processing occupations; filleting fish, dressing poultry, cracking nuts or laundering
  • Occupations with duties in workplaces where goods are manufactured, mined or processed
  • Public messenger service
  • Operating or tending of hoisting apparatus or of any power-driven machinery (other than office machines and machines in retail food service and establishments
  • Occupations found and declared hazardous by official designation
  • Occupations in connection with:
    1. 1. Transportation of persons or property by rail, highway, air, on water, pipeline or other means
    2. 2. Warehousing and Storage
    3. 3. Communication and Public Utilities
    4. 4. Construction (including repair)

      EXCEPT Office and sales work in connection with these four categories as long as such work if not performed at the site of the prohibited jobs

  • Dispensing gasoline or other fuel
  • Docks, private or public
  • Parking lot attendants
  • Car Washes, either hand or machine
  • Occupations in billiard or poolrooms
  • Any work in a tunnel
  • Any work in a boiler or engine room
  • Outside window washing
  • All work using ladders or scaffolds
  • Work in freezers or meat coolers

Forms and Resources

If you are under 18 and work in Rhode Island, you MAY need a Certificate of Age form.

If you are under 16, you MUST have a Special Limited Permit to Work form.

Rhode Island employers who hire minors 14-15 MUST fill out the Intention to Employ A Minor form. For minors 16-17, employers MAY need to fill out this same form:

Employers: If you are an employer in Rhode Island and you hire a minor, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to keep a Special Limited Permit to Work form for all your employees under 16 years of age, and a Certificate of Age form for minors under 18, if one is obtained.

Once the minor's Certificate of Age or Special Limited Permit to Work form is completed, it is important for the employer to keep a copy at the place of business. This serves as the proof of age of minor employees.

Youth: If you are 16-17 and want to work in Rhode Island, you MAY need the to fill out the Certificate of Age Form

If you are under 14-15 and want to work in Rhode Island, you MUST have the following form, as it is mandatory: Special Limited Permit to Work

Once you receive a copy of your Intent to Employ a Minor form, take it, along with a copy of your Birth Certificate, Baptismal Certificate, Passport, School Records or Drivers License to the School Department in the city/town where you live, and they will issue you either a Special Limited Permit to Work or a Certificate of Age form.

Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act

As of July 1, 2018, most RI employees have the legal right to earn sick and safe leave from work per RI General Law § 28-57. The Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act gives Rhode Island employees the right to take time off from work to care for themselves when they are too sick to work, are injured or have a routine medical appointment. They may also use earned leave to deal with the impact of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. In addition, earned leave may be used to assist their child, spouse, domestic partner or other member of their household for the same purposes.

Under the law, Rhode Island employers with 18 or more employees will be required to offer paid sick and safe leave. Employers with fewer than 18 employees must provide sick and safe leave time, although it does not need to be paid. Covered employees may take up to 40 hours of leave.

Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act FAQ

When does the Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act take effect?
The law took effect on July 1, 2018. Eligible employees will begin to accrue time immediately.
What can earned sick and safe leave time be used for?
Employees can use sick and safe leave time if they are too sick to work, are injured or have a routine medical appointment. They may also use sick and safe leave to deal with the impact of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. In addition, employees may use sick and safe leave to assist a family member or a member of their household for the same purposes.
Is it paid or unpaid?
Employers with 18 or more employees must provide paid sick and safe leave. Employers with 17 or fewer employees must provide earned sick and safe leave, but it does not need to be paid.
How much sick and safe leave can I earn?
Full time employees can earn and use up to 24 hours during 2018, 32 hours in 2019 and 40 hours per year thereafter. Once the annual accrual cap is reached, time ceases to accrue. Employers may choose to offer a higher annual accrual limit.
Do workers have to give notice before using sick and safe leave?
If the reason for leave is planned at least 24 hours in advance, the employee must provide notice to the employer. In instances of unforeseeable leave, such as emergencies, notice must be provided as soon as it is reasonable and in accordance with the employer's policies.
Can the employer ask for proof?
Employers can ask for documentation only in limited circumstances. For example, they can ask for a doctor’s note when the employee misses more than three consecutive workdays.

Employers are not allowed to ask for information about the illness or the details of the domestic violence.

Food employees and managers can be asked to provide documentation if the absence would trigger the employer’s obligations under the RI Food Code 216-RICR-50-10-1.
What if the employer offers other paid time off?
Employers may have their own sick leave policy or other paid time off policy that employees use as sick leave, as long as the policy provides the same benefits and protections that the law requires, or better. The Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act is not designed to add additional days to an existing leave policy that already meets the requirements.
How must employers notify workers?
Employers must post the Notice to All Employees - Information Employers Must Post poster in the workplace, which includes information on the Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act. This poster is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Employers should include their sick time policy in any employee handbook or manual.

Employers may also post or distribute the Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Fact Sheet.
Where can I find more information?
You will find the answers to more questions in our one-page fact sheet, as well as in the law and regulations.
How can I file a complaint?
Fill out a complaint form and mail it to:

RI DLT, Labor Standards Unit
Building 70-2
P.O. Box 20390
Cranston, RI 02920-0944s

Forms and Resources