How to Get a Work Permit in Massachusetts

Getting a work permit in Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts.  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 Massachusetts

Massachusetts may be one of our older states (the sixth in 1788), however younger workers are able to be employed with a work permit. In Massachusetts, minors as young as 14 are able to seek employment, and a work permit is required for all minors under the age of 18 who would like to obtain employment. Click here for more information on teen labor laws in Massachusetts.

Applying For a Work Permit in Massachusetts

The process to obtain a work permit in Massachusetts is not complex. For youth aged 14 and 15, there is a bit more that needs to be completed in order to receive the permit, however for youth aged 14-17, the process to secure a work permit is straightforward overall.  Prior to a minor being able to complete the permit process, they must first secure employment.  Employment information will be required to be entered on the Employment Permit application. Minors in Massachusetts who are seeking to work should take the following steps to obtain a work permit:

  1. The minor aged 14-17 must first find a job. Finding an employer who is willing to hire them will lead the minor to complete the work permit application.
  2. The minor will first access the Employment Permit application. The form can be accessed here.
  3. The minor will have the prospective employer complete the “Promise of Employment” section, which will include the name and address of the employer, as well as the job title and primary duties expected of the minor, and the hours per day that the minor will work.
  4. For minors aged 14 and 15, the “Physician’s Certificate of Health” must be completed. This section will be signed by the minor’s doctor confirming they are physically capable of the work described by the potential employer.
  5. The parent or guardian and the minor must review the “Summary of Massachusetts Laws Regulating Minors’ Work Hours and Occupations Restrictions” to make sure that the job complies with the mandated work hours and restrictions.
  6. The minor will have their parent or guardian sign the application confirming that they are consenting to a permit for the work that was noted by the employer.
  7. If the minor is 14 or 15 than they must obtain the school record from the school they last attended. A designated school official can access this through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Security portal by an assigned official.
  8. If the minor is 16 or 17 they will need to obtain proof that they have met the requirements for 6th
  9. The minor will bring the completed Employment Permit application, school record or proof of meeting the requirements for completion of the sixth grade, as well as proof of age (birth certificate or passport) to the public school superintendent of schools or the authorized issuer where the minor attends school or lives. The issuer will review all documents and then download and complete the employment permit from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Security Portal should all documents be in compliance. The minor will sign the permit in the issuer’s presence.
  10. The minor’s school will keep a copy of all documents.
  11. The minor will bring a completed copy of the employment permit to the employer, who is required to keep it on file at all times as the minor is employed or until the minor is 18.
  12. Once the minor turns 18 the Work Permit may be destroyed. Should the minor end employment prior to turning 18, the Work Permit should be returned to the issuer.

Transferring Work Permits in Massachusetts

The work permit is not able to be transferred from one job to another. This applies even if the employer is the same but the location is different. Should an employer want to employer a minor at more than one location, they will have to have a permit on file at each location.

Employer Responsibility With Work Permits in Massachusetts

While minors aged 14 through 17 are able to obtain employment, they must have a work permit in order to begin working. The first step for the minor is to find an employer who is willing to hire them. Once the minor has found an employer, the employer must complete the “Promise of Employment” section of the Employment Permit application. In regards to work permits, employers in Massachusetts have the following responsibilities:

  1. The employer will complete the “Promise of Employment” Section of the Employment Permit Application. This will require the following information: the name and address of the employer, job title, primary duties, and how many hours the minor will work. The employer must sign that section.
  2. The employer is not able to allow the minor to work until they have received the signed work permit.
  3. All child labor laws must be followed.
  4. The employer must keep the work permit on file for as long as the minor is employed there or until the minor reaches the age of 18.
  5. Should the minor’s employment terminate, the employer must return the permit to the superintendent’s office within two days of the employment ending.

Employers in Massachusetts who are interested in hiring minors aged 14-17 should not find it difficult to do so. The process that the employer needs to follow is straightforward and their role in the minor obtaining a work permit is minimal. The employer will want to be sure they follow child labor laws and refrain from putting the minor to work prior to their having a work permit on file.