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California Department of Industrial Relations/Division of Labor Standards Enforcement

Youth are looking to gain valuable experience in the world of work, not to mention, earn a few bucks.  Many employers are willing to give enterprising young people the opportunity to acquire new job skills.  Did you know that the State of California Department of Industrial Relations lists the complete set of laws governing youth employment in their child labor law pamphlet?

Minors and Work Permits:

  • Who is a minor?  Any person under the age of 18 that is required to attend school is a minor according to the California Labor Code.
  • Who must attend school?  Minors aged six through 15 years must attend school full-time unless the minor is a high school graduate (there are some exceptions).
    Sixteen and seventeen-year-olds, who have not graduated from high school or who have not received a certificate of proficiency, can choose to attend part-time classes.  Continuation classes are required, four or 15 hours per week depending on the type of employment.
The local school district grants permission for minors to work.  Individuals under the age of 18 must have a work permit.  The state Permit to Employ and Work is accepted as the federal certificate of age.  Employers must have the permit on file and available for inspection by school and labor officials.

Other sections in the pamphlet cover:
  • Wages
  • Hours of work
  • Types of employment allowed by age
  • Restricted and prohibited occupations
  • Employer requirements including the penalties for violating child labor laws
  • Federal Fair Labor Standards Act
  • State and Federal child labor law comparison charts by age groups
For additional information on the employment of minors, visit the California Department of Industrial Relations Web Site.

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