How to Get a Work Permit in Illinois

Getting a work permit in Illinois 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 Illinois.  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 Illinois

Often what comes to mind when thinking about employment for teenagers is working at the local McDonalds. Illinois, specifically Des Plaines, is home to the first ever McDonalds. Regardless of where a teenager in Illinois wants to work for their first job, they are able to begin working at the age of 14. A “Minor Employment Certificate” or work permit, is required for minors aged 14 and 15 in order for them to begin working.  

The process to obtain a “Minor Employment Certificate” in Illinois requires multiple steps, though the instructions are clear. Teenagers seeking the opportunity to earn money in Illinois will be able to demonstrate their interest in gaining employment by following the required steps to receive the necessary documentation. Once the “Minor Employment Certificate” is obtained, it should be filed and accessible by the employer. Click here for more information on teen labor laws in Illinois.

Applying For a Work Permit in Illinois

There are several steps to obtaining a “Minor Employment Certificate” or work permit in Illinois. Minors aged 14 and 15 will have to complete several additional documents prior to applying for their “Minor Employment Certificate”, to include a “Certificate of Physical Fitness” and the “Principal’s Statement to Issuing Officer”. These documents will need to be obtained prior to the minor applying for a “Minor Employment Certificate” or work permit. Minors aged 14 and 15 should take the following steps to obtain their “Minor Employment Certificate”:

  1. Minors can access a copy of the “Minor Employment Certificate” by clicking here. The minor and their parent or guardian can view the copy of the “Minor Employment Certificate” but should not fill it out. This is the responsibility of the issuing officer, who will access the form online when the minor comes to them with their required documentation.
  2. The minor must obtain a statement from their prospective employer of their intention to hire the minor, once they have their employment certificate. The statement should include the occupation the minor will work in, as well as the exact hours per day, number of hours per day and days per week that the employer intends for the minor to work.
  3. The minor must obtain a “Certificate of Physical Fitness” prior to applying for the “Minor Employment Certificate”. Click here for a copy of the form to be completed by a doctor to certify that the minor is physically fit for employment.
  4. The minor must also have their school principal complete the “Principal’s Statement to Issuing Officer”, which confirms their age, grade, and times they should be attending school. It also states that the principal recommends that the minor receive an employment certificate. Click here for a copy of this form.
  5. Once the minor has these items, they must bring them to an issuing officer, along with evidence of their age (for example a birth certificate or certificate of baptism).
  6. The issuing officer (the District or Regional Superintendent of Public Schools or anyone that he or she has authorized) will review these items and complete the online form for the “Minor Employment Certificate”. The form will require the minor’s general information, as well as the name of the employer and the occupation the minor will undertake. Typically there is an issuing officer at any public high school. The issuing officer will make sure that all documentation is present and confirm that the employment found by the minor is not considered hazardous.
  7. Should the issuing officer confirm that all documentation is present, and the employment is appropriate, they will electronically submit a signed copy of the online form for the “Minor Employment Certificate”. They can print a hard copy also.
  8. Copies of the “Minor Employment Certificate” will be provided to the employer, the Illinois Department of Labor and the parent or guardian of the minor. This issuing officer should also retain a copy for their files.

Transferring Work Permits in Illinois

The “Minor Employment Certificate” is employer-specific and cannot be transferred from one employer to another. Should a minor choose to seek a new opportunity, they will need to obtain a new “Minor Employment Certificate”.

Employer Responsibility With Work Permits in Illinois

In order for a minor aged 14 and 15 to obtain a “Minor Employment Certificate” in Illinois, their future employer must complete a statement of their intention to hire the minor. The employer may not put the minor to work until the minor has provided them with a copy of their “Minor Employment Certificate”.  Once this has been received, the employer will have the following responsibilities:

  1. The employer must keep the “Minor Employment Certificate” on file at their place of employment.
  2. Should employment of the minor be terminated, the employer must return the “Minor Employment Certificate” to the issuing officer immediately.

The responsibility of employers when hiring minors in Illinois is simple, with the directions being clear and written on the “Minor Employment Certificate” itself.  Minors aged 14 and 15 who are interested in seeking employment will find that while there are multiple steps to complete in order to obtain the ability to work, the instructions are clear and easy to follow.