All residents of California who are under 18 years of age are legally considered minors. As such, they have protections under the state labor laws, which are designed to help ensure that underage workers like you don’t get taken advantage of.
California’s Department of Industrial Relations states that all people under 18 are minors who must abide by, and are protected by, the California Labor Code. Even if you are emancipated, you will still have to heed these laws. The only difference is that you don’t need parental permission in order to get a work permit. Every minor requires this permit to work, and if you haven’t been emancipated, your parental guardian will need to grant you permission for it.
Additionally, your place of work must have the proper permit required to hire a minor. There are separate laws if you want to work in the entertainment industry, but generally speaking, permits are needed by all parties involved. This is just an extra measure of security to ensure that you aren’t overworked, underpaid, or exposed to things not suitable for minors.
In addition, child labor laws are generally designed to ensure that you can both work and attend school simultaneously. In fact, since California has compulsory education, you must be able to continue attending school if you are a minor holding down a job. Other laws can include things like daily or weekly working hour caps, as well as potentially disallowing minors from working at late hours in the evening or night.
These laws are all in place to make sure that you can work without putting your education or safety in jeopardy. Following the laws and obtaining all necessary permits may seem stressful, but it is to your benefit.