The California Labor Code defines a minor as “any person under the age of 18 years who is required to attend school …” Even a minor who is a nonresident of California, and who therefore may not be required to attend school, is nevertheless considered a minor for purposes of employment. Because minors are a vital employment resource for the hospitality industry, employers should familiarize themselves with the various state and federal rules affecting the employment of minors. This report discusses the laws governing the employment of minors to assist employers in their job placement and hiring decisions.

Work permits

Except in extremely limited situations, all minors employed in California must have a work permit. Even minors who work for their parents are required to have work permits unless the work falls under the areas of agriculture, horticulture, viticulture or domestic labor. Permits are required for minors year round, even when school is not in session.

A minor may obtain a work permit from the district where he or she attends school. The minor and the employer should complete the Statement of Intent to Employ A Minor and Request Work Permit (“Form B1-1”) and the minor’s parent or guardian should sign it and submit it to the School District. An emancipated minor (a child who has been given certain adult rights by court order) may apply for a work permit without parental consent.

A work permit must include the minor’s name, age, birth date, address, phone number, the name of his or her school, the minor’s social security number, the maximum number of hours the minor can work, the signature of the minor, the issuing authority and the date on which the work permit expires. A minor requesting a work permit must also set forth the name of his or her prospective employer’s workers’ compensation carrier on Form B1-1. The employer must keep a copy of the work permit on file and make the file available to school officials, probation officers or officials of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

Exemptions

The following minors are exempt from the work permit requirement:

  • minors who have graduated from high school or who have been awarded a Certificate of Proficiency
  • minors who are at least 14 years of age and employed to deliver newspapers to consumers
  • minors of any age who participate in any horseback riding exhibition, contest or event, whether or not they receive any payment for services or prize money
  • minors who are self-employed
  • minors who are employed by their parents or guardians in the areas of agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, or domestic labor on or in connection with property the parent or guardian owns, operates or controls
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