Legal Age to Work in California

Minimum Age to Work in CA

California (CA) Quick Reference Table
AgeSummary of Requirements
14-15Must have a permit to work, and employers must have a Permit to Employ.
16-17Must have a permit to work, and employers must have a Permit to Employ.
18-20May not work in any establishment that serves alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises.
21Able to serve alcohol for consumption. No restrictions.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Work in California?

Though 12 and 13 year olds can mow lawns, deliver newspapers and babysit, California labor laws allow job seekers between the ages of 14 and 17 to obtain legal employment The state also places conditions on the age and education level minors must have to pursue certain types of work.

California Child Labor Laws

California Work Permit Regulations
In general, , any individual under the age of 18 must obtain a work permit before starting work, though work authorization is unnecessary for emancipated minors. If they choose to pursue work that will require them to miss school, they may also need the approval of the labor commissioner. Students often get a work permit application from their school, provided their grades and attendance is up to par. Once school is out, however, minors must figure out how to get a work permit in the summer before they can join the workforce.

  • Do you need a work permit during summer?

Yes. California state law mandates that all minors have a work permit before gaining employment.

  • Where can I get a work permit besides school?

Minors can find work permit applications on the Department of Industrial Relations or California Department of Education websites.

  • How do I get a work permit during summer?
    • Print a “Statement of Intent to Employ a Minor and Request for a Work Permit” application from the webpage, or get a hard copy from a local board of education office.
    • Underage hopefuls and their legal guardian must complete the form before giving it to a potential employer
      • This employer must possess a valid “Permit to Employ and Work” certificate, allowing them to legally hire minors.
    • The employer must complete the form before submitting it to the Labor Commissioner for approval.

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Hours Restrictions

How many hours can a 14 or 15 year old work?
Workers between ages 14 and 15 may work three hours on school days and a combined 18 hours per week during the school year. These teens can work between 7:00am and 7:00pm, though they can only work outside of school hours. Minors under 16 can work up to eight hours per day for a total of 40 hours a week.

How many hours can a 16 or 17 year old work?
Older teenagers enjoy fewer restrictions on their work schedules. They are able to perform job tasks for four hours on school days and eight hours on weekendsvfor up to 48 hours per week. Minors aged 16 and 17 can work between 5:00am and 10:00pm, or as late as 12:30am on ono-school nights.

Jobs Available to California Minors

What kind of jobs can minors work?
In order to avoid placing teenagers in hazardous work environments, federal law limits the types of employment accessible to minors. These jobs may involve operating dangerous machinery, delivery or transportation tasks, or food handling positions for minors under 16.

Acceptable tasks typically include:

  • Cashiering
  • Basic food preparation
  • Stocking shelves
  • Cleaning tasks
  • Retail
source: California child labor laws source: California labor law pamphlet

9 user comments:

  1. jade fisser

    I’m only 14 years old and im trying to find a job if i can at the moment. Do my school grades have anything to do with getting my work permit?

    1. Aryanna

      I’m 13 years old and I don’t know how to get a work permit. Also, am I old enough to work anywhere?

      1. samantha haraway

        14 is the age where more jobs may become available to you but im sure you can find something if you really look.

      2. Charles

        no, you have to be 14 to work

    2. samantha haraway

      Yes! There is a required grade standard to meet in order to obtain a work permit.

  2. isaiah jeremy

    How do you get a permit to work? I’m 16 and don’t understand how to get one.

  3. Ariana Del Toro

    I don’t understand, how do you get a work permit?

  4. kayla

    is there a specific weight and height that i have to have if i want to work at 14 in california?

  5. unknown

    im 14 trying to get a work permit and i have good grades, is it likely that people actually hire minors?


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