Youth Work Permits

Worker’s Permits were created to protect teens from employers who would overwork and underpay them, or assign them dangerous tasks in unsafe environments.

(The permits also document the teen’s date of birth, age, enrollment status, and overall attendance in school; and protect employers from being prosecuted for hiring under-aged workers.)

Getting a worker’s permit is free and fairly easy to do:

First, find out if you will need a work permit. Check with your guidance counselor at school. Most states require a work permit for those under eighteen.

You should get hired by the employer first, because you’ll need to know exactly what the job will entail before you can get the work permit.

Make sure that your job doesn’t involve operating powerful machinery such as meat slicers, industrial saws, or fork-lifts. Teens are also not allowed to work in demolition, roofing, mining, logging, meatpacking, slaughtering, excavation, or any place exposed to radiation or explosives. A work permit will not be issues for these types of jobs.

If you are under sixteen, make sure that you aren’t doing any cooking or baking as part of the job, unless it’s performed right at the serving counter. Other jobs off-limits for fourteen and fifteen-year-olds include: loading or unloading trucks or other vehicles, operating machinery (except some office equipment), construction, and manufacturing. They are also barred from jobs that involve working on scaffolding or ladders, and jobs in warehouses.

Verify that your work schedule follows current labor laws: During the school year, people under sixteen may not work more than three hours on school days, nor more than eight hours on weekends and holidays, nor more than eighteen total hours per week. In the summer, they are allowed to work a maximum of forty hours per week (eight hours per day).

Get an application for a work permit from your school’s administrative office. Once you have received a job offer, you will need to immediately apply for the work permit.

Submit the work permit to your school, along with proof of your date of birth (driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, or ID card).

Wait three to five days to receive the work permit.