In the small town of Freedom, Wisconsin, Buzz’s Pub and Grill –  has been short-staffed since the pandemic. Jeff Baker, the owner, says he “could use one more bartender, and probably two more cooks”. He hasn’t found takers in over a year of running “help wanted” ads, so he’s made do by working extra shifts in the kitchen and paring back the menu.


Baker could soon get more job applicants thanks to a new proposal that would lower Wisconsin’s minimum age for alcohol service to just 14 years old.

Fourteen years old is too young to work in any nonfarm capacity. The FLSA guide lines spell it out Below.

A lot of kids start their working life in restaurants. I did at sixteen but I worked in the kitchen the servers that were out in the dining room were eighteen years old and did serve alcohol.

At thirteen an approved exception would have to be reviewed. Parents or guardians that employ their own children at this age would have to be entrusted to make common sense decisions of what the scope of employment would be. My personal opinion would be serving alcohol would be out. How ever in the capacity of a bar back would be acceptable.

I feel the appropriate age for someone to serve alcohol would be at sixteen but that would be table service with food being served in conjunction with the alcohol.

As for a bar tender the age should be twenty-one as the temptation to drink would be there.  

It has been known that a lot of business are struggling to find help, but to lower the age to thirteen to fascinate this is wrong.

We discuss this live on Davin’ Den Tuesday August 8th 6:30-9:30 pm. Join us Go to, click the Davin’s Den link and listen live. Also see us live on the Davin’s Den Facebook page  as well  



Under FLSA guidelines, there are several provisions that business owners must follow in regards to employing minors. Each age group below has its own requirements to properly follow restaurant labor laws:

13 years old and younger – Minors that are 13 years old or younger may not be employed unless employment falls under an approved exception. Parents or guardians may employ their own children in non-hazardous occupations under this exception. To learn more about minor employment exceptions, visit the U.S. Department of Labor website.

14 and 15 years old – These minors may be employed in non-hazardous occupations for no more than 3 hours on a school day and 18 hours in a school week. Hours may not begin before 7 a.m. or end after 7 p.m. Outside of school hours, they may work 8 hours on a non-school day and 40 hours in a non-school week. Hours are extending to 9 p.m. from June 1st to Labor Day.

16 and 17 years old – Minors that are 16 or 17 years old may perform any non-hazardous job for an unlimited amount of hours.

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