How to Get a Work Permit in California

Getting a work permit in California is much easier than most teens think, but the entire process can be pretty confusing if you've never done it before. Because of this, we've created this page which outlines everything you need to know about getting a work permit in California.  If you're under the age of 16, a work permit is required to work part-time at any company, so follow what we've outlined here and you can get a job in no time.

Minimum Working Age in California

While California is well known for the entertainment industry, there are plenty of employment opportunities for those not looking to work in film or television. Many young people may choose to earn an income while gaining real-world experience during their high school years. Minors age 14 and up are able to seek employment in California, with a “State Permit to Employ and Work” or work permit, required for youth until they reach the age of 18. Click here for more information on teen labor laws in California.

Applying For a Work Permit in California

The process for a minor to acquire a work permit in California is not complicated, however will require some time. The minor can request from his or her school the Department of Education form entitled:  “Statement of Intent to Employ Minor and Request for Work Permit”.  A link to this form is provided below.  The form will require the minor’s name, birthdate and social security number, as well as their school information.

In addition, the form requires information from the future employer, to include the type of work the minor will be expected to complete. The form must be signed by the employer and by the parent, who will be consenting to the minor being employed. The minor will not be able to begin work until the form is completed and signed, and the “permit to employ and work” issued by school officials. Should school not be in session, the permit can be obtained from the superintendent of the school district where the minor lives.  Minor students aged 14 through 17 should take the following steps to obtain and complete their work permit:

  1. Request the Department of Education form entitled: “Statement of Intent to Employ Minor and Request for Work Permit” from their school. You can access the form by clicking here.
  2. The minor should ask their Once the minor has found a potential employer, both the minor, their parent or guardian and the employer will need to complete the “Statement of Intent to Employ Minor and Request Work Permit”. Completing this from requires some basic information from the minor, the parent or guardian and the employer.
  3. Once the form is complete and everyone has signed it, the minor will return the form to their school.
  4. School officials can then issue the permit to employ and work. Should school not be in session, the completed form should be returned to the superintendent of the minor’s school district so that the permit may be issued.
  5. The school officials issuing the permit will note on the permit the number of hours that can be worked in a day or a week, as well as the hours during the day a minor can work. The permit will also note any limitations or other restrictions that the school feels should be imposed.
  6. The completed permit will be brought to the employer and kept on file.

Transferring Work Permits in California

The work permit is completed for a specific employer. Should the minor student decide to work elsewhere, they will need to complete a new “Statement of Intent to Employ Minor and Request Work Permit” form that will list the new employer.

Employer Responsibility With Work Permits in California

Before an employer hires a minor under the age of 18, they must have the permit to employ and work. Once the employer has hired a minor, they must do the following:

  • Keep on file permits to employ and work; records must be open at all times for possible inspection by school officials and officers of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.
  • Must keep a record for three years of the names, dates of birth and addresses of all minors that were employed. They must also keep a record for three years of time, to include payroll records and must provide this information when requested.
  • Permits that were issued during the school year will expire five days after the next school year begins. The permits must then be renewed.
  • When wages are paid, employers must provide an itemized statement of deductions that is either separate or able to be detached from the check.

The responsibility of employers when hiring minors is not complicated nor does it require a significant amount of effort. It is, however, a process and like all processes, may or may not go quickly. Minors seeking employment should start their job search early, understanding that there will be a bit of time between the job being found and the permit being issued.