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What Is a Work Permit?

A work permit, also known as a work visa or employment authorization, is a document that allows individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States to legally work in the country. In the state of California, work permits are issued to individuals, particularly minors, who are seeking employment but are under the legal working age.

Work permits are important because they ensure that individuals are legally allowed to work, protecting both employees and employers. Under California law, individuals under the age of 18 are required to obtain a work permit before they can start working. This requirement is designed to safeguard the well-being and education of young workers, while also promoting fair employment practices.

To obtain a work permit in California, minors are required to complete an application process. This typically involves obtaining necessary forms from their school or local government office, filling them out with accurate information, and obtaining the necessary signatures from both the minor and their parent or guardian. The completed application is then submitted to the appropriate issuing authority, such as the school district or the state Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

At What Age Can I Get a Worker’s Permit in California?

Navigating the world of employment as a minor can be complex and confusing. In California, there are specific regulations regarding the age at which a minor can obtain a work permit. In California, work permits are issued for minors aged 12-18.

If you are applying for a permit when school is not in session, keep reading to find out more.

By the age of 14, you may be interested in getting a part-time job to earn some extra cash. If you are a minor who wants to get a summer job, you will need a work permit.

The California employment lawyers at Mara Law Firm would like to review the basics of work permits, who is allowed to issue a work permit, and the forms you need to obtain a work permit. 

If you are a parent and have questions about your child’s employment rights, a California employment lawyer can help.

Work Permit Basics

Work permits are required for all minors under the age of 18 prior to starting a job. Employers must abide by state and federal occupational restrictions, which require that all workers are at least 14 years of age.

Work permits are required for most jobs, except for newspaper carriers, yard workers for private homes, and babysitters. Minors are restricted to only being employed in non-hazardous jobs.

General information regarding work permits:

  • A student must have a work permit from their high school.
  • Work permits are renewed yearly at the start of school or when a student obtains a new job.
  • A student must attend school full-time (except for summer vacation) and cannot be truant.
  • All minors must be covered by Workers’ Compensation, including minors employed by businesses operating from a private residence.
  • It is illegal for an employer to fire or punish a student for reporting a workplace problem, such as unpaid wages.

Who May Issue a Work Permit?

According to California Education Code § 49110, the following persons are allowed to issue a minor a work permit:

  • Superintendent of the school district in which the minor resides
  • Superintendent of county schools if the minor does not reside within a school district territory
  • A person holding a service credential with a specialization in pupil personnel services
  • Work Experience Education teacher/coordinator
  • Principal of a school who has been designated by the principal and has self-certified his/her working knowledge of child labor laws
  • If the superintendent is unavailable, he or she may authorize another person, in writing, to issue the permit

During the summer or when school is on break, the superintendent of the school district where the minor resides would issue the work permit. 

Jobs a Minor in California Can Get Without a Work Permit

According to California labor laws, minors are allowed to work in a few specific categories without obtaining a work permit.

  1. Agricultural jobs: Minors can work in agricultural positions, such as harvesting fruits and vegetables, as long as they are at least 12 years old and have obtained a permit to work in agriculture.
  2. Domestic services: Minors can perform household chores, like babysitting and yard work, even without a work permit. However, certain restrictions may apply, depending on the age of the minor.
  3. Creative activities: Minors engaged in creative activities, such as acting or modeling, can work without a permit, provided that their employment is supervised and compliant with labor laws.
  4. Newspaper delivery: Delivering newspapers is another job that minors can perform without a work permit. It’s important to note that this exemption applies only to newspaper delivery and not other types of delivery jobs.
  5. Small family businesses: Minors working for their parent’s or legal guardian’s small business are exempt from obtaining a work permit.

What Jobs Can I Not Get a California Work Permit For?

Although there are certain jobs that minors can engage in without a work permit, there are also restrictions on the types of jobs where a work permit is required:

  • Manufacturing and industrial jobs
  • Hazardous occupations
  • Door-to-door sales
  • Adult entertainment
  • Nighttime and graveyard shifts

Entertainment Work Permits

The Labor Commissioner’s Office issues all entertainment work permits. Minors that are 15 days old to 18 years old must have an entertainment work permit if they are employed in the entertainment industry.

Minors who are working as advertising or photographic models must have an entertainment work permit. This specialized permit is also required for jobs that are noncommercial. 

Forms Needed to Obtain a Work Permit

It is usually a two-step process for a minor to obtain a work permit:

  • The minor and his or her guardian/parent will complete the Statement of Intent to Employ a Minor and Request for a Work-Permit Certificate of Age (CDE Form B1-1)
  • The B1-1 form will be submitted to the student’s school district.
  • The school district will review the B1-1 form.
  • If everything is in order, the school will issue a Permit to Employ and Work (CDE Form B1-4)—the physical work permit.

The work permit lists the following:

  • The address of the place of employment 
  • The maximum permitted work hours
  • If there are any work limitations

Contact a California Employment Law Attorney 

If you’re a minor seeking to navigate the complexities of employment laws and regulations or you have a child who is interested in working over the summer, don’t hesitate to contact Mara Law Firm. Our team of knowledgeable and experienced San Diego employment attorneys is dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of individuals facing employment-related challenges.

Knowing how to get a work permit will allow the process to run more smoothly. We are here to answer any concerns you may have regarding minors’ employment. Contact our firm today to set up a free consultation. 

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