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How Old Do You Have To Be To Work At A Hotel?

Author: jack
Published:February 12, 2024
6 mins 32 secs

When considering a job in the hospitality industry, particularly at a hotel, you may want to know how old do you have to be to work at a hotel.

Generally, hotels in the United States set the minimum age for employment at 18.

This is largely to align with responsibilities that may include handling guests’ private information, managing payments, or working late hours.

For many positions, being 18 or older is a standard due to legal and safety considerations.

However, there are some roles within a hotel for which younger individuals can be eligible.

If you are at least 16, you may be able to work at a hotel with a permit, dependent on state law and the hotel’s policies.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides a baseline, setting 14 as the minimum age for employment and restricting the number of hours worked by those under 16.

This ensures that there are opportunities for young people to get started in the industry while maintaining safeguards for their well-being and education.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Work At A Hotel?

When looking into hospitality jobs, knowing the minimum age requirements is crucial.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Work At A Hotel

This varies by country and by individual hotel policies.

Legal Working Age By Country

United States

  • Minimum Age for Employment: Generally 14, with limitations for hours and types of work.
  • Working in Hotels: Often you can start at 16 for certain roles, subject to state labor laws.

United Kingdom

  • Minimum Age for Employment: 16, though some work is permissible at a younger age with strict restrictions.
  • Working in Hotels: Usually 16, but front-of-house and certain roles may require you to be 18.

Hotel-Specific Age Policies

  • Food Service: Jobs like dishwashing or bussing tables are typically available to workers aged 16.
  • Front Desk: Positions often require workers to be at least 18 due to the nature of the duties involved.

Hilton Example: For housekeeping roles, the minimum age can be 16 with a work permit according to responses on job forums.

It’s important to check directly with the hotel for their specific age requirements, as these can vary.

Types Of Hotel Jobs And Age Considerations

In the hotel industry, various job roles may have different age requirements.

These can hinge on state labor laws and specific hotel policies.

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Here’s a closer look at some common hotel positions and their typical age considerations.

Front Desk Roles

For front desk positions, which often include guest check-in and handling transactions, the minimum age can vary.

Typically, you must be at least 18 years old due to the responsibilities involved.

However, some hotels may hire individuals at 16 for less demanding tasks, such as assisting with guest inquiries.


In housekeeping, the age requirement may be more flexible.

You can often start working in these roles at 16.

This includes tasks like cleaning guest rooms and preparing them for new arrivals, which usually don’t require handling sensitive information.


Culinary Positions

Culinary positions, especially in hotel kitchens, often require workers to be 16 years or older, especially for entry-level roles like dishwashing or basic food prep.

For more specialized positions such as line cooks, the age requirement might be higher due to the need for experience or training.


Hotel management roles typically require you to be older due to the level of responsibility and experience required.

Management positions often demand a minimum age of 18, with many hotels preferring or requiring post-secondary education or significant work experience.

Remember, while these are common age requirements, they can differ based on the country or state you are looking to work in, and individual hotel policies.

Always check the specific job listing and hotel requirements.

Work Permit and Documentation

Before you can begin working at a hotel, you need to ensure you have the proper work permit and documentation required by law.

Proof of Age

To work at a hotel, you will typically need to provide proof of age to confirm you meet the minimum age requirement for employment.

This can be an age certificate or another legal document such as your birth certificate or state-issued ID.

Employment Authorization

In addition to proving your age, if you are between 14 and 17 years old, you’ll need an employment certificate or a work permit.

This is to verify that you are eligible to work legally in the hotel industry.

To obtain a work permit, you may need to:

  • File an application, usually provided by your school or state labor department
  • Have it signed by your parent or guardian
  • Have it signed by your future employer

If you’re not a U.S. citizen, you’ll need an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which requires filing Form I-765 with USCIS.

Remember to check the expiration date, as you’re authorized to work only for a specific period.

Benefits Of Working In Hotels For Young Employees

Working in the hospitality industry can be a rewarding starting point in your career.

You can develop essential skills and make connections that will benefit you in any future career path.

Skill Development

  • Communication: You’ll interact with a wide variety of guests, improving your verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
  • Customer Service: Delivering exceptional service will hone your ability to meet and exceed customer expectations.
  • Time Management: Juggling tasks efficiently is a critical skill you’ll learn in the fast-paced hotel environment.
  • Problem-Solving: Dealing with unexpected issues will enhance your capacity to think on your feet and find solutions.
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Networking Opportunities

  • Team Connections: You’ll work with a diverse team, fostering relationships that can offer support and opportunities within and outside the hotel industry.
  • Industry Contacts: Regular engagement with suppliers, regular guests, and event planners provides a chance to build a professional network.
Benefits Of Working In Hotels For Young Employees

Challenges and Considerations

Navigating the age requirements to work in a hotel involves understanding some key challenges and considerations affecting your potential employment.

Work-Life Balance

Prospects and Shifts: You may find that hotel work typically includes a variety of shifts, as hotels operate around the clock.

This could mean having to adapt to working nights, weekends, or holidays.

It’s imperative to assess whether such a schedule aligns with your lifestyle and personal responsibilities.

  • Consistency: The hospitality industry is known for its busy seasons, where the demand for consistent work hours can increase.
  • Conversely, during off-peak times, hours can fluctuate, which may affect your income stability.

Safety and Regulations

Compliance with Laws: Your eligibility to work in a hotel is subject to state labor laws, which often stipulate that the minimum age for employment can range from 16 to 18 years old.

These regulations are in place to ensure a safe work environment for you as a minor.

  • Job-Specific Restrictions: Certain positions within a hotel, such as those involving food service, might be available to you at 16 years old.
    • However, roles concerning front-of-house duties and handling transactions may require you to be at least 18 due to additional responsibilities and legal considerations.

Key Takeaways

  • Minimum Age Requirement: In many states, you can begin working at a hotel as young as 16 years old, primarily in roles related to food service.
    • For front-of-house positions like a front desk clerk, 18 years old is generally the minimum.
  • Role-Dependent Age Restrictions: The age requirement may vary depending on the job specifics.
    • Entry-level positions such as housekeeping or food service may have lower age requirements, while positions that handle transactions or check-in might require you to be older.
  • State Labor Laws: Your state’s labor laws play a crucial role in determining how young you can start working at a hotel.
    • Always check your local laws to ensure compliance.
  • Hotel Policies: Individual hotel policies might impose their own age restrictions that can be above the legal minimum.
    • Always inquire with the hotel for their specific requirements.
  • Work Permits: If you’re under 18 and meet the minimum age requirement, you may need a work permit based on the state you reside in.

Remember, while there are opportunities for work as a teenager, they might come with certain limitations based on age, role, and legal requirements.