If you’re under 18 and live in California, you must have a work permit to start a job by the standards set forth by the Child Labor Law of California.
This requirement is in place to ensure that your job doesn’t interfere with your education and wellbeing.
So, if you’re looking to earn some pocket money over the summer or after school, here’s what you need to know about getting your foot in the door of the working world.
Steps to Get a Work Permit for Minors in California
Here’s your step-by-step guide to unlocking the doors to employment as a young person in California. It’s easier than you might think.
Step 1: Land the Job
First of all, you have to find a job. Once you have a potential employer willing to hire you, you’re ready to start the process of obtaining your work permit.
Step 2: Complete the B1-1 Form
You and your prospective employer will need to fill out a “Statement of Intent to Employ Minor and Request for Work Permit”, also known as the B1-1 form.
This document asks for details about you and the job you’re planning to take. You, your parents or guardians, and your employer will need to provide signatures on the form, signaling that everyone is aware of the job and the terms of your employment.
Step 3: Submit the B1-1 Form
Take the completed B1-1 form to your high school. Your school official will review the job offer to make sure it fits within legal hours and doesn’t interfere with your schooling.
Your local high school or school district office typically handles work permits. If you’re homeschooled or attend a charter school, you’ll still go through your local school district.
Step 4: Receive the B1-4 Form (The Work Permit)
After reviewing your B1-1 form, the school district will issue a B1-4 form, which is your actual work permit. Make sure to review it, sign it, and have your parents or guardians sign it too.
Step 5: Give the Work Permit to Your Employer
Once the B1-4 form is filled out, you’ll hand it over to your employer. Keep in mind that you can’t officially start working until your employer has this permit on file.
If you’re at a loss on where to begin, don’t stress! Your school’s counselor, career technician, work experience coordinator, or an administrator can guide you through the process. They are there to help ensure that you can juggle both school and work successfully.
What a Work Permit Includes
A work permit is like a key to the work world for minors. It’s not just a piece of paper; it’s an important document that sets clear boundaries for your job for your own protection.
- Job Duties: The permit lists the specific type of work you’ll be doing at your job. That way, everything is clear from day one, and you’re not asked to do tasks that aren’t allowed for your age group.
- Workplace Information: It’ll state where you’ll be working. This includes the address and the name of the business or employer.
- Work Hours: It specifies how many hours you’re allowed to work per day and week, including restrictions for school days. This is designed to ensure that your job doesn’t affect your health and schoolwork.
Your work permit ensures fair play and your wellbeing. It’s crucial that you and your employer follow the conditions listed on the permit.
What Types of Jobs Minors Are Permitted and Not Permitted To Do?
Understanding what jobs you can and cannot do is just the beginning.
Permitted Jobs for Minors
While there are many opportunities for you to explore, jobs for minors are specifically chosen to be safe and suitable for your age.
Typical jobs that are approved include retail positions, like working at a clothing store, fast-food restaurants, tutoring. Odd jobs like babysitting or lawn mowing don’t need a work permit.
Jobs Off Limits for Minors
However, not every job is fair game. There are several that are off-limits to protect you from hazardous situations. These include roles involving heavy machinery, construction sites, and any job requiring you to work with dangerous substances.
The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) prohibits minors from working in occupations declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor.
Always consult the DLSE’s list of prohibited duties and occupations for minors before accepting a job offer to ensure it’s a legal and safe position for someone your age.
How Many Hours Per Day/Week Minors Are Allowed to Work?
Working hours for minors are restricted to accommodate your most important job: education. During the school year, the number of hours per day and per week you can work is limited, and the guidelines change a bit during school breaks.
For 16 and 17-Year-Olds:
- School days: Up to 4 hours on school days
- Non-school days: Up to 8 hours on non-school days
- Total weekly hours: Not more than 48 hours during a non-school week
It’s important that your work does not take place during school hours, unless you’re enrolled in a work experience education program or you’ve graduated from high school.
For 14 and 15-Year-Olds
- School days: Up to 3 hours on a school day, and no more than 18 hours in a school week
- Non-school days: Up to 8 hours on a non-school day
- Total weekly hours: Not more than 40 hours during a non-school week
Just like the older minors, your work hours should not overlap with your school time, unless you participate in an approved work experience education program.
For 12 or 13-Year-Olds:
If you’re 12 or 13 years old, your employment options are more limited. Generally, you are allowed to work in agriculture, on non-school days, during daylight hours. However, during school vacations, you may work longer hours.
Be sure to verify the exact regulations with your school or consult California’s Department of Labor for the most up-to-date guidelines specific for your age group.
It’s not common for 12 or 13-year-olds to be issued work permits for non-agricultural jobs, however, there are exceptions for roles in the entertainment industry or if you’re working in a family-owned business, as long as the work does not endanger your health or well-being.
Working on School Days vs. Summer and School Breaks
The rules for working on school days are strict. California places your education as a top priority, so during the school year, your work hours are limited, and your job is never supposed to conflict with your school schedule.
During School Weeks
For all minors, school days dictate shorter working hours. If you’re under 18, you typically can’t work during school hours, with some exceptions if you’re in a work experience or career technical education program.
Plus, there are rules about how early or late you can work – you can’t start before 7:00 AM or work after 7:00 PM for most of the year (extended to 9:00 PM from June 1 through Labor Day).
During Summer and School Breaks:
When school’s out, those restrictions relax a little bit. You have more freedom to earn and save money for your goals or simply to enjoy your hobbies. Here’s what the summer or school break schedule looks like:
16 and 17-year-olds: You can work up to 8 hours per day and up to 40 hours per week. You can now work between the hours of 5:00 AM and 12:30 AM, which gives you a chance to take on jobs with shifts later in the day.
14 and 15-year-olds: Your daily limit increases to 8 hours per day, with a maximum of 40 hours per week. However, your work hours are still restricted from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, except from June 1 through Labor Day, when you can work until 9:00 PM.
During summer and other school breaks, young workers have the opportunity to experience full-time employment and understand the responsibilities that come with it. It’s an excellent chance to gain real-world work experience while enjoying your time away from school responsibilities.
Balance Work and Education
While earning your own money is exciting and empowering, it’s crucial to maintain a good balance between work and education. Your school attendance and performance must always come first. When scheduling your work hours, consider the following:
- Schoolwork: Always prioritize your homework, projects, and study time. Falling behind in school to work extra hours isn’t worth the trade-off.
- Rest: Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Overworking can lead to exhaustion, which will affect both your schoolwork and job performance.
- Extracurricular Activities: If you’re involved in sports, clubs, or other activities, balance your work schedule so you can still participate. These activities are important for your personal development and might be equally valuable when applying to colleges or future jobs.
- Family Time: Don’t forget to set aside time for family and relaxation. It’s important to maintain your personal relationships and mental health.
- Future Planning: Use your work experience as a stepping stone for your future career. Reflect on what you enjoy and what skills you’re gaining that could influence your career choices down the line.
As a minor in California seeking to enter the workforce, obtaining a work permit is a necessary step that ensures your job is conducive to your age, health, and educational pursuits. Keep in mind that having a job is a responsibility as well as an opportunity for growth.
Make sure to familiarize yourself with the specific rules that apply to your age group, the legal provisions your employer must follow, and seek guidance whenever you’re in doubt.
Your work permit is more than just a formal permission; it’s a learning experience and a guide that helps you navigate the responsibilities of work while protecting your rights as a young individual.