Workers under 18 must apply for work permits at their school district office before beginning a new job. Work permits are not required for those who have graduated from high school or passed the high school equivalency exam.
For additional information about work permits, go to the Department of Education’s webpage of Frequently Asked Questions on Work Permits.
Work Permit Info and Quiz
Does a minor (someone under age 18) need a work permit if he or she keeps the same job from school year to school year?
Yes. Work permits grant permission from the school district for a minor to work.
A minor needs to have a work permit issued to them by the school district every school year and during the summer. Work permits must include information about the specific employer and employer’s address, and must document the maximum amount of hours a minor may work, the range of hours, and any occupational limitations or other restrictions imposed at the school district’s discretion. Work permits expire five days after the opening of the next school year and must be renewed.
Can someone under age 18 have more than one job at the same time?
Yes, as long as the total number of hours worked does not exceed the maximum hours permitted by law.
The minor needs a separate work permit for each job. The work permit issued may help prevent the teen from working too many hours by limiting the hours on each new work permit, and noting on work permits that the minor is working a certain number of hours at other jobs.
Can a “drop-out” get a work permit?
No. No one under age 18 may drop out of school legally in California.
In order to get a work permit and work legally, youth under 18 must be enrolled in school, or in a program where they can earn their GED. Many school districts have alternative programs where youth can work and earn their GED. Contact your school district for more information.
If parent(s) employ their own child, does that minor still need a work permit and need to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance?
Yes, all youth under 18 need a work permit.
Exceptions are if they have graduated from high school or have been awarded a certificate of proficiency. However, to qualify for a certificate of proficiency, the minor must be at least 16 years of age, or must have been enrolled for one academic year in the 10th grade, or have completed one academic year of enrollment on the 10th grade at the end of the semester the test was taken. [Education Code 48412]. This applies to any business where parents employ their own children except for agriculture or domestic labor.
Parents must also provide workers’ compensation insurance for their children and must follow all of the laws on work restrictions for minors. Minors irregularly employed in odd jobs in private homes, such as baby-sitting, lawn mowing, and leaf raking, do not need to obtain a work permit.