How to Get a Work Permit in Puerto Rico
Getting a work permit in Puerto Rico 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 Puerto Rico. 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 Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico has two official languages; English and Spanish, however Spanish is more dominant. This is evident as the website for the Puerto Rico Department of Labor is completely in Spanish! No matter what language they speak, teenagers in Puerto Rico are interested in obtaining employment, and fortunately, teens as young as 14 are able to do so. For all minors under the age of 18, a work permit, called an employment certificate in Puerto Rico, is required prior to their starting employment. Click here for more information on teen labor laws in Puerto Rico.
Applying For a Work Permit in Puerto Rico
While minors can begin working in Puerto Rico at the age of 14, all teenagers under the age of 18 must have an employment certificate prior to starting work. The process to obtain the employment certificate is simple. Minors who are seeking to work in Puerto Rico should take the following steps to obtain the employment certificate:
- A minor under the age of 18 should first find a job. After they have found an employer who is interested in hiring them, the minor will need to get a declaration from the employer stating that they intend to hire the minor once they have an employment certificate. This document should include the details of the work that the minor will perform, the number of hours per day and days per week that the minor will work, the start and end times each day, the time for lunch for the minor, and their salary. The letter should be signed by the employer or an authorized representative, as well as the minor and their parent or guardian.
- The minor must obtain a certificate of physical and mental health that is signed by a doctor, confirming that the minor is in appropriate health to work.
- The minor must also obtain a copy of their school record that notes the last grade that they completed, certifies that they attend school regularly, and that in the principal’s opinion they can work without their education being adversely effected (this is not required for minors looking to work during vacations only).
- The employment certificate must be requested by the parent or guardian of the minor. The minor will bring the employer document, their certificate of physical and mental health, their school record (if required) and a proof of age document (birth certificate, baptismal certificate, certificate of arrival) to the office of the Secretary of Labor or to a person authorized by the Secretary of Labor to issue employment certificates.
- Once the employment certificate is issued, the original will be mailed to the employer.
Transferring Work Permits in Puerto Rico
The employment certificate is employer and job specific. Should a minor seek a new employment opportunity, they must obtain a new employment certificate.
Employer Responsibility With Work Permits in Puerto Rico
While minors as young as age 14 are able to work in Puerto Rico, all teenagers under the age of 18 must obtain an employment certificate prior to beginning work. In regards to employment certificates, employers in Puerto Rico have the following responsibilities:
- The employer must provide a declaration of their intent to hire the minor. This will include a description of the work the minor will perform, the number of hours per day and days per week that the minor will work, the start and end times each day, the time for lunch for the minor, and the salary of the minor. This document should be signed by the employer or their authorized representative, the minor and their parent or guardian.
- The employer must keep a copy of the permit on file in a safe place at the employment location and must make the certificate available for inspection when requested.
- The employer must place a printed notice in a location in the workplace frequented by minor employees on a regular basis. The notice must state the maximum hours that a minor can work each day and per week, and the start and end time for meals.
- Should employment terminate, the employer must return the employment certificate to the office of the Secretary of Labor within two days of employment ending.
- The employer must follow all child labor laws.
Employers in Puerto Rico who are looking to hire teenagers under the age of 18 will not find it difficult to do so. The process that the employer needs to follow is straightforward and the employer’s role is minimal in the minor obtaining the employment certificate. The employer is required to follow child labor laws and must have an employment certificate on file prior to allowing the minor to begin work.