Frequently Asked Questions

We have answered these FAQs to the best of our knowledge. There may be some rules and exceptions not covered here which may apply to your situation. We encourage you to periodically check for revisions due to the evolving nature of laws and regulations. Where possible we have cited the code naming the law or regulation that an answer is based on.

Key to abbreviations:

  • CFR = Code of Federal Regulations
  • VC = (CA) Vehicular Code
  • LC = (CA) Labor Code

Need a question answered?  email Karen Andrews andrews2@berkeley.edu. Check the FAQs below to see if we have already answered it!

How can a teen find a job?

Some ideas for finding a job in your community:

  • Go to the “One-Stop Center” in your community, if there is one. You can get help writing resumes, finding a job, or general career planning. Find the One-Stop Center in your community.
  • Ask around by word of mouth in your local community. Ask teachers, parents or guardians, neighbors, and other trusted adults if they know of any opportunities.
  • Think about places you would like to work: local merchants, small businesses, hotels, tourist attractions, grocery stores, corporate offices, fast food, golf and tennis clubs, parks and recreation departments. Telephone or stop by to inquire about available positions.
  • Ask your high school employment counselor or work experience teacher about opportunities.
  • Check websites that list local job openings or use the job search engines to find part-time jobs in your location. You can also use your local library to find out about job searching.
  • Spend some time developing a resume, and familiarizing yourself with different professional requirements of the working world such as dress attire and interviewing skills.
  • Work for yourself by offering a service to adults you trust. Possibilities include:
    • Cleaning
    • Yard maintenance
    • Tutoring
    • Babysitting
    • Web/computer work
    • Dog walking
    • Pet sitting
    • Errands
    • Build skills by volunteering.

Be sure to check the For Teens page to find out how old you have to be to do different kinds of jobs. Make sure you get a work permit from your school.

Make sure you know your legal rights and are prepared to speak up if necessary.

Can a minor have more than one job at once?

Yes, as long as the total number of hours worked does not exceed the maximum hours permitted by law.

The minor (someone under age 18) needs a separate work permit for each job that he/she has at the same time. 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. For more information on Work Permits, visit our Work Permits page.

Can a minor drive while on the job?

Minors under the age of 17 may not operate a motor vehicle on public streets as part of their job under any conditions.

This includes running errands for an employer or making deliveries, etc. In very restricted situations, a 17-year-old may drive, but many workers’ compensation insurers may not be willing to cover 17-year-old drivers.

17-year-olds may only drive if their driving meets all of the following conditions:

  1. It is occasional and incidental driving i.e. no more than a third of a minor’s work day and no more than 20 percent of a minor’s work time in any work week.
  2. If the trips are within a 30 mile radius of the place of employment.
  3. If there are no more than three passengers (including employees of the employer).
  4. If no more than two trips are made away from the place of employment in any given day for the purpose of transporting passengers (other than employees of the employer).
  5. If no more than two trips are made away from the place of employment in any given day for the purpose of delivering goods of the minor’s employer or to a customer.
  6. If they are not making route deliveries, or transporting goods or passengers for hire.
  7. If the driving is restricted to daylight hours.
  8. If the minor holds a State license valid for the type of driving involved and has no record of any moving violation at the time of hire.
  9. If the minor has successfully completed a State approved driver education course.
  10. The automobile or truck is equipped with a seat belt for the driver and any passengers, and the employer has instructed the minor that the seat belts must be used when driving the automobile or truck.
  11. If the automobile or truck does not exceed 6,000 pounds of gross vehicle weight.
  12. If such driving does not include the towing of vehicles, route deliveries or sales, the transportation for hire of property, goods, or passengers, or urgent, time-sensitive deliveries. [29CFR 570.52]
Can an employee be paid less than the minimum wage?

Minors must be paid at least the state minimum wage.

The California state minimum wage is $10.00 an hour starting January 1, 2016.  Local cities and counties are allowed to enact minimum wage rates and several cities have recently adopted ordinances which establish a higher minimum wage rates for employees working within their local jurisdiction. The employer must follow the stricter standard; that is, the one that is the most beneficial to the employee. Thus, since California’s current law requires a higher minimum wage rate than does the federal law, all employers in California who are subject to both laws must pay the state minimum wage rate unless their employees are exempt under California law. Similarly, if a local city or county has adopted a higher minimum wage, employees must be paid the local wage where it is higher than the state or federal minimum wage rates.

Employers may pay new employees 85% of the minimum wage while they are learning the new job, but only up to their first 160 hours of work and only if they have no previous similar experience.

Can the employer require employees to buy or provide their own uniforms, tools, or equipment?

When these are required, they must be provided and maintained by the employer.

Uniforms are clothing and accessories of distinctive design or color. For instance, a polo shirt with the company logo printed on it is considered a uniform.

If a retail clothing store requires its staff to wear the brand name clothes that it sells, the employer must pay for them as part of a uniform. If an employer just says that white shirts and black pants are required, that description is non-distinct enough not to be considered a uniform. In that case, the employee can be required to purchase and wear that clothing.

Employers are also responsible for providing and maintaining tools or equipment necessary for the performance of a job. In the instance where a worker is being paid more than twice minimum wage per hour, they may be required to provide and maintain the hand tools customarily required in the trade or craft. Employees cannot be required to provide any power tools.

What can 16-year-olds and under do at work?

16 year olds:

  • A 16-year-old can drive a golf cart that is not on a public street. [LC 1294.1(b); VC 12515; 29CFR 570.52]
  • A 16-year-old can move cars at an auto dealership if he or she doesn’t take the car off the lot, because it is not on a public street. He or she cannot test drive cars out on the public roads. [LC 1294.1(b); VC 12515; 29CFR 570.52 + 570.34]

14 or 15 year olds:

  • Minors under 16 are prohibited from doing any building or construction work of any kind. A minor under 16 can work in the office of the construction site if they have no contact with the construction work site. [29CFR 570.33 + 570.119]
  • A 15-year-old work cannot work at the cash register in a dry cleaners, or in any part of the shop.

For more information on age-specific rules on what teens can and cannot do while on the job, visit YouthRules!