employers are faced with the opportunity (and challenge) of
bringing in young people to both supplement the workforce
and provide career training for the younger employees. While this can be welcomed relief to have a pair of ready
hands to take on the work which might otherwise burden
employees who are trying to take vacations or just have a
lot of administrative work, it can also signal the
employer’s need to brush up on the regulations around
Employment of minors is regulated under numerous
authorities, such as the California Labor Code, the
Education Code, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
to name a few, and the regulations vary by industry and age
of the minor. A minor is anyone who is under 18 years of age
and required to attend school and therefore subject to
California’s child labor protections.
Before employing a minor, ensure you are familiar with your
industry regulations and avoid these common mistakes: not
obtaining proper work permits; not paying required wages to
minors; employing minors in prohibited occupations; and
violating permitted work hour restrictions.
For purposes of this article, we will focus on employing
minors 14-17 years of age.
obtain proper work permits which are required year-round,
even when school is not in session. The school year begins
on July 1 and ends on June 30 and work permits expire five
days after the start of the new school year. Work permits
are issued by the Superintendent of the school district
where the minor goes to school or lives. The employer or the
minor must obtain (from the superintendent) and complete the
Statement of Intent to Employ a Minor, and obtain a Permit
to Employ and Work. Work permits are not required if the
minor is a high school graduate, or has a certificate of
Minors must be
paid no less then the minimum wage and overtime if
applicable. Minors are typically not allowed to work more
than eight hours in a day. See below for more details.
Minors are not
permitted to drive a motor vehicle on public highways and
streets for the purpose of their job which includes
delivering any type of goods from a motor vehicle.
Generally, prohibited occupations include: excavation,
manufacturing explosives, mining, and operating many types
of power-driven equipment. For more information on this
subject, visit the Department of Labor website at
minors age 14-15 can work three hours per day on a school
day outside of school hours and eight hours on a non-school
day. They can work up to 18 hours per week while school is
in session and up to 40 hours per week when school is out.
Minors in this age range are permitted to work between 7
a.m. – 7 p.m. except from June 1 through Labor Day when they
can work until 9 p.m.
Generally, minors age 16-17 can work four hours per day on a
school day and eight hours on a non-school day or on any day
preceding a non-school day while school is in session. When
school is out, they can work eight hours a day. The maximum
amount of hours they can work is up to 48 hours per week,
even when school is in session. Minors in this age range are
permitted to work between 5 a.m. – 10 p.m. and can work
until 12:30 a.m. on any evening preceding a non-school day,
such as Saturday evening or during the summer.
Be cautious because many minors may attend summer school, so
the school day hours would apply in that case.
Note: If a minor works two jobs, both jobs
count toward the aforementioned limits.
1, 2008, it became illegal for individuals under age 18 to
drive a motor vehicle while using a mobile phone, even
with a hands-free device. This includes other mobile
service devices, such as a broadband personal communication
device, a specialized mobile radio device, a pager, a
two-way messaging device, or a handheld device or laptop
computer with mobile data access. However, minors may make
calls for emergency purposes only to, for example, a law
enforcement agency, a healthcare provider, or the fire
Note: There are many additional exceptions to hiring minors
and this list is not inclusive. If you have specific
questions about your organization, please call TPO for more
Article written by:
LaTonya Olivier, SPHR-CA