We have answered these FAQ's 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:
Need a question answered in person? Call 1-888-933-Teen (8336)
How can a teen find a job?
Make sure you know your legal rights and are prepared to speak up if necessary.
Does a minor need a work permit if he or she keeps the same job from school year to school year? What about summer jobs?
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 a minor 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.
If parent(s) employ their own child, does that minor still need a work permit? Does that minor need to be covered by worker's compensation insurance?
Yes, all youth under 18 need a work permit, unless they have graduated from high school or have been awared a certificate of proficiency. However, to qualify for a certificate of proficiency, the minor must be at least 16 years of age, or muct 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. [EC48412]. 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 otain a work permit.
Can a "drop-out" get a work permit?
No. No minor 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.
Can a minor drive to run errands for an employer or make deliveries, etc.?
Minors under the age of 17 may not operate a motor vehicle on public streets as part of their job under any conditions. 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:
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.
If the trips are within a 30 mile radius of the place of employment.
If there are no more than three passengers (including employees of the employer).
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).
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.
If they are not making route deliveries, or transporting goods or passengers for hire.
If the driving is restricted to daylight hours.
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.
If the minor has successfully completed a State approved driver education course.
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.
If the automobile or truck does not exceed 6,000 pounds of gross vehicle weight.
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]
Is there any work that a 15-year-old can do on a construction site?
No. 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]
Can an employee be paid less than the minimum wage?
Minors must be paid at least the state minimum wage which is $7.50 an hour and applicable overtime rates. Employers may pay new employees 85% of the minimum wage while they are learning the new job, but only during their first 160 hours of work and only if they have no previous similar experience.
Can the employer require employees to buy their own uniforms? What does "uniform" mean? Who is responsible for providing tools or equipment to an employee?
When uniforms are required by the employer to be worn as a condition of employment, 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 ($13.50/hour or more), 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.
Can a 16-year-old drive a golf cart, not on public streets?
Yes, because it is not on a public street. [LC 1294.1(b); VC 12515; 29CFR 570.52]
Can a 16-year-old move cars at an auto dealership, if he or she doesn't take the car off the lot?
Yes, 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]
Can a 15-year-old work at the cash register in a dry cleaners?
No, minors cannot work in any part of the shop.
May a work permit be issued for a minor who is being "home schooled"? In other words, when a noncredentialed parent is teaching his/her own child using a correspondence course or other type of course, may the child be issued a work permit?
EC Section 49110 authorizes school officials to issue "Permit to Employ and Work" to eligible students. Students eligible for a work permit are subject to California's compulsory education laws. The principal of a private school may issue, or designate another administrator in the school, to issue work permits to pupils who attend the school by self-certifying a working knowledge of child labor laws and all laws pertaining to the issuance of work permits.
However, principals and designated administrators are not authorized to issue a "Permit to Employ and Work" to his or her own child (EC 49110)."