If you live in the state of California and your teenager is below the age of 18, he or she must have a permit to work. In fact, the state requires all minors – not just teenagers – to apply for a work permit before starting a job.
The Department of Industrial Relations explains the process for applying. Schools issue the applications, so when your minor children decide they would like to get jobs, their first stop should be the school office. Someone there will give them applications which they will then fill out, have you sign, get the potential employer to sign and return completed to the school office.
A couple of catches in this process include the fact that employers also must have permits to employ minors. This means you should first check with the company your child wants to work with to be sure its managers have submitted appropriate paperwork.
Another catch involves working in the entertainment industry. It is not just teenagers who need work permits for working in films and other entertainment venues. If your 10-year-old son lands an appearance in a movie that is under production, for example, the DIR says he must have a permit to take the part. This is true for “minors aged 15 days to 18 years” who work in the entertainment business. Permission for employment in this sector comes from the Labor Commissioner’s Office. You may begin the application process online or at your local commissioner’s office.
This information only intends to educate regarding work permits for minors. It should not be considered legal advice.