How to Get a Work Permit in Wisconsin

Getting a work permit in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin.  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 Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, there are 15,210 miles of snowmobile trails; snow “highways” that are maintained and have signs. It would be easy for teenagers to get caught up in exploring the state by snowmobile. Many teens are interested in activities outside recreation and are hoping to earn money and gain experience. Fortunately for teens, in Wisconsin minors that are interested in obtaining employment are able to do so at the age of 14. For all minors under the age of 18, a work permit, called a child labor permit in Wisconsin, is required prior to their starting employment.  Click here for more information on teen labor laws in Wisconsin.

Applying For a Work Permit in Wisconsin

While minors can begin working in Wisconsin at the age of 14, all teenagers under the age of 18 must have a child labor permit prior to starting work. The process to obtain the child labor permit is simple.  Minors who are seeking to work in Wisconsin should take the following steps to obtain the child labor permit:

  1. A minor under the age of 18 should first find a job. Once they have an employer who is interested in hiring them, they should request a letter on the employer’s business letterhead that states that the employer is looking to hire the minor. The letter should include the job duties that the employee will perform, their work hours, and the time of day the minor will work. The employer or an authorized representative must sign the letter.
  2. The minor will need a letter from their parent or guardian agreeing to the employment noted in the employer letter.
  3. The minor or the minor and their parent will bring this documentation, along with proof of age (birth certificate, state ID card, or baptismal certificate), social security card, and $10 permit fee to an authorized permit officer. Often there is a permit officer at the high school the child attends. Or the minor can call the following number for information on where to go for a permit in their area: call (608) 266-6860.
  4. Should all documentation be present and the employment appropriate, the authorized permit officer will issue the permit using a departmental form. The original will be given to the employer and the minor, the Department of Workforce Development, the permit officer and the school district where the minor attends school will all receive copies.

Transferring Work Permits in Wisconsin

The child labor permit is employer and job specific. Should a minor seek a new employment opportunity, they must obtain a new child labor permit.

Employer Responsibility With Work Permits in Wisconsin

While minors as young as age 14 are able to work in the state of Wisconsin, all teenagers under the age of 18 must obtain a child labor permit prior to beginning work. In regards to Work Permits, employers in Wisconsin have the following responsibilities:

  1. The employer must provide a letter on the letterhead of their business, that states that they intend to hire the minor. The letter must describe the job duties that the minor will have, as well as the hours and time of day the minor will work.
  2. The employer is responsible for the $10 permit fee. They can provide this to the minor up front or reimburse the minor after the permit has been issued.
  3. The employer must keep a copy of the permit on file in a safe place at the employment location. The employer must also keep the payroll records that include the following for at least three years: name, address, date entering and exiting employment, time work began and ended each day, time of beginning and end of meal periods, total hours worked per day and per week, pay rate and wages paid each week, and amount and reason for all deductions in pay. All records must be available for inspection upon request.
  4. A poster that explains total hours minors may work must be placed in an area where it will regularly be seen by employees.
  5. The employer must follow all child labor laws.

Employers in Wisconsin 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 procuring the child labor permit. The employer is required to follow child labor laws and must have a child labor permit on file prior to allowing the minor to begin work.