Work Permits

At a Glance

Students who wish to work while attending school need to acquire a Permit to Employ and Work (Form B1-4). Public school students may obtain forms from the high school district they attend. Private school students may obtain the forms from their school, or from the public school district in which they reside. The San Mateo County Office of Education does not issue work permits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Visit the California Department of Education website for FAQs about Work Permits

Law and Agencies Controlling Employment of Minors

Most California employers are governed not only by state child labor laws but by the child labor provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). When federal and state laws both apply, the more restrictive law prevails.

FLSA sets basic minimum ages of 16 for general employment and 18 for occupations declared particularly hazardous for young workers. Persons younger than 16 are allowed to work only in limited, specified occupations which exclude baking, manufacturing, processing, construction, warehouse, and transportation occupations.

California law also sets out minimum ages as summarized below, and restricts or prohibits the employment of specified age groups of minors in specified hazardous occupations.

Information on federal labor laws is available from the Wage and Hour Division, Employment Standards Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. Information on state child labor laws is available from the Division of Labor Standards, California Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC). Both the federal and state agencies have offices in several California cities.

Summary of Minor’s Work Regulations

Federal law generally prohibits employment of children younger than 14. State law generally prohibits employment of children younger than 12. Special rules apply to agricultural and domestic work and to the entertainment industry.

Children must legally attend school until age 18 unless they are 16 or older and have graduated from high school or received a state Certificate of Proficiency.

Employers of minors required to attend school must have a “Request for Work Permit and Statement of Intent to Employ Minor” (Form B1-1) on file with the school district of attendance for each such minor and must themselves have on file for each minor a “Permit to Employ and Work” (Form B1-4).  Records are to be open at all times for inspection by school authorities and officers of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

A work permit must be revoked whenever the issuing authority determines the employment is impairing the health or education of the minor.

Labor laws applicable to adult employees are also generally applicable to minor employees, including workers’ compensation insurance requirements.

The child labor laws do not generally apply to minors who deliver newspapers or work at odd jobs, such as yard work and baby-sitting, in private homes where the minor is not regularly employed.

Hours of work are defined by federal and state regulations.

A day of rest is required if the total hours employed per week exceed 30, or if more than six hours are worked on any one day during the week.

Some hazardous occupations are prohibited for minors under 18, by federal regulation.

CDE Contact

Kimberly B. Born
(916) 319-0480
kborn@cde.ca.gov