Many students enter the world of work as minors (under 18 years of age). Students work for a wide variety of reasons—to earn income, gain on-the-job experience, or connect what they are learning in the classroom to the real world.
Minors employed in the state of California must have a Permit to Employ and Work (commonly referred to as a “work permit”). Work permits are typically issued by the school where the student is enrolled. Work permits indicate the location of the employer as well as the number of hours a minor may work.
Frequently Ask Questions:
What process should be followed to issue a work permit?
The minor/student, after obtaining a promise of employment, shall obtain the "Statement of Intent to Employ a Minor and Request for a Work Permit - Certificate of Age" (CDE Form B1-1) from the school.
The minor must complete the "minor" section, request that the employer and parent complete their sections (making certain to obtain both required signatures), and then return the completed form to the appropriate school authority.
The school’s authorized work permit issuer shall verify all information on the work permit to be issued. If all requirements are met, the authorized work permit issuer may issue the work permit (CDE Form B1-4).
The local school district or school has discretion to impose additional requirements for the issuance of a work permit. For instance, the school district may have a policy requiring the minor to maintain a 2.0 grade point average (GPA). In such a case, the work permit issuer would need to verify the student’s GPA.
Does a student have to present his/her Social Security card to school authorities when applying for a work permit?
No. The work permit application (CDE Form B1-1) and work permit (CDE Form B1-4) shall contain, among other information, the name, address, telephone number, and Social Security number of the minor (EC sections 49115 and 49163). The statutes do not specify that the card itself must be presented, only the number.
The California Department of Education maintains that the work permit application (CDE Form B1-1) signed by the parent or legal guardian ("I hereby certify that…the information herein is correct and true") holds the adult responsible for providing accurate information.
May a 14 or 15 year-old work during the school day?
No. While school is in session, an employer shall not employ a minor 14 or 15 years of age for more than three hours in any day, nor more than 18 hours in any week, nor during school hours. However, students that are enrolled in and employed in a school-supervised and school-administered work experience and career exploration program may be employed for no more than 23 hours per week, any portion of which may be during school hours (EC Section 49116).
What is a "school day" and what does "school in session" mean?
A minimum school day in any high school or junior high school is defined as any day in which the minor is scheduled to attend school for 240 minutes. Anything less does not qualify as a school day, and work hours may be increased on such days even though the minor receives instruction on that day (EC sections 46141 and 46142; LC Section 1391).
Exemptions to the 240-minute standard are for students who attend evening high school, a regional occupational center, opportunity classes, a continuation high school, late afternoon or Saturday vocational training programs conducted under a federally approved plan for vocational education, and for students enrolled in Independent Study Program (ISP) or an approved Work Experience Education program (EC Section 46141). In addition, students in grades eleven and twelve who attend a college or a university part-time are exempt from a full 240-minute minimum day.
Continuation high schools are required to have a 180-minute school day. Independent study programs are defined instructionally in the California Education Code, but there are no regulations concerning "seat time."
State law has no definition of "school in session" but the federal government defines the term as any week in which the public school for the county is in session for at least one day.
May schools disclose the employer information contained in work permits to labor officials?
Yes, a school may provide a list containing the name and contact information from employers contained in work permits to labor officials.
However, each school should consult with its attorney before disclosing work permits to prevent the disclosure of personally identifiable information that is protected by state or federal laws (EC sections 49164 and 49180; LC Section 1299; Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99.