Legal Age to Work in California

Minimum Age to Work in CA

California (CA) Quick Reference Table

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

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

When Can You Get a Job in California?

California labor laws allow job seekers between the ages of 14 and 17 to obtain legal employment. While the legal working age in California is 14, some employers may also make allowances for 12 and 13-year-old workers. Minors must meet the state’s minimum age and education requirements before pursuing certain types of jobs.

How to Get a Work Permit in California

California Minor Work Permit Regulations

According to state law, minors who are of working age in California must obtain a work permit before they can start the process of getting a job. If an underage teen is applying for a position that will require them to miss school, they may also need the approval of the state’s labor commissioner.

Students often get a work permit application from their school, provided their grades and attendance are up to par. However, many teens start looking for jobs after school is out. In situations like this, minors must figure out how to get a work permit in the summer before joining the workforce.

Do you need a work permit during the summer?

Yes. California state law requires all minors to have a work permit before gaining employment.

Where can I get a work permit besides school?

Minors can find work permit applications online through 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 official 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. Emancipated minors can complete this form on their own.
  • Potential employers must possess a valid Permit to Employ and Work certificate, allowing them to hire minors legally.
  • Your chosen employer must complete the form before submitting it to the Labor Commissioner for approval.

Search jobs in California

Hours Restrictions

Can you work at 13 in California?: In the state of California, it is illegal for 12 and 13-year-old employees to work during the school day. Kids this age may only work during weekends, school holidays, and summer or winter vacations. Once they get a job, these minors can only be on the clock between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm for a maximum of eight hours per shift.

Can you get a job at 14 in California?: 14-year-old job seekers may perform their job duties for up to three hours on school days for a total of 18 hours a week. On weekends and holidays, they can work eight-hour shifts for up to 40 hours each week. Like 12 and 13-year-olds, these employees must work between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm, though the hours extend to 9:00 pm during the summer.

Can a 15-year-old work in California?: Workers who are 15 have the same work hour restrictions as 14-year olds. On weekdays between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm, these minors can perform job tasks for three hours after school for up to 18 hours per week. Minors under 16 can also work eight hours a day and 40 hours a week outside of school hours.

Can a 16-year-old work 40 hours a week in California?: Older teenagers can enjoy fewer restrictions on their work schedules. They can clock in for up to 4 hours on school days and eight hours on weekends for a total of 48 hours per week. Work hours for these minors stay between 5:00 am and 10:00 pm, though they can work as late as 12:30 am on non-school nights.

Jobs Available to California Minors

What kind of jobs can minors work in California?

To keep teenagers from performing dangerous tasks in hazardous work environments, federal law limits the types of jobs minors can obtain. Hopefuls under the age of 16 are ineligible for positions that involve operating heavy machinery, delivery and transportation duties or handling food.

Acceptable tasks for minors typically include:

  • Cashiering
  • Basic food preparation
  • Stocking shelves
  • Cleaning tasks
  • Retail

Plan Ahead for a Career Path

Consider becoming a trained professional at a California trade or vocational school.

source: California child labor laws
source: California labor law pamphlet


  • jade fisser says:

    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?

    • Aryanna says:

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

      • samantha haraway says:

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

      • Charles says:

        no, you have to be 14 to work

    • samantha haraway says:

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

  • isaiah jeremy says:

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

    • Mallory Morales says:

      you can usually get one through your school. Check with your counselor or whoever you’d talk to about personal stuff

  • Ariana Del Toro says:

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

    • Hannah Small says:

      Usually your school will have one available on their website. If not speak to your principle or another staff member.

  • kayla says:

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

  • unknown says:

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

  • Kash Kior says:

    I wanted to work as a nail tech but I’m 14 can I do that ?

  • Kash Kior says:

    I’m 14 and want to be a nail tech can I legally do that?

  • Heidi says:

    I’m twelve, so can I work yet?

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