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No. It is solely within the discretion of the school district to determine whether a minor, who is still subject to the state’s compulsory education laws, may obtain a work permit and, therefore, be employed to work.

Each of the laws governing the issuance of a work permit uses the word “may,” which is permissive, and, therefore, does not require the work permit to be granted (EC Section 75). If the statutes had used the word “shall,” which means issuance is mandatory, then the school would not have discretion and would have to issue a work permit to every eligible minor.

No. Once a minor is no longer subject to the state’s compulsory education laws, he/she is not considered a minor for purposes of the state’s child labor laws and is not required to obtain a work permit (LC Section 1286[c]). California’s compulsory school attendance law requires a person to attend school until he/she is eighteen years of age, or has graduated from high school, or has passed the High School Proficiency Examination.

However, under federal law (29 CFR Section 570.121), Certificates of Age are required for all employed minors under the age of 18 which may be satisfied with the top portions of the work permit application (CDE Form B1-1) (5 CCR Section 10120.1).

Yes. A minor may work concurrently for more than one employer and, therefore, have more than one valid work permit. But, regardless of the number of employers and work permits, the total number of hours worked may not exceed the total number of hours allowed by law.

Yes. The local school may issue a work permit if the minor enters the attendance area from another state within ten days or less before the end of the school term. The minor may be issued a work permit to work full-time because he/she is exempted from school attendance for the remainder of the school term (EC Section 48321). However, out-of-state student residents still must have been abiding by the California compulsory attendance laws within the school of attendance.

The requirement for a work permit issuance is that the minor resides in the district that issues the work permit. The minor does not have to be a California resident, be enrolled in the school, or reside with parents (EC Section 49110).

Any minor wishing to work in California must adhere to the state’s work standards and regulations, even if not a permanent or full-time resident of California (LC sections 1286 and 1299).

No. A truant or "dropout" is in violation of California’s compulsory school attendance laws, and a school is not permitted to sanction violation of those laws by issuing a work permit. A truant or "dropout" is subject to arrest, and the parents are subject to infraction fines if the minor is found working without a work permit (EC sections 48264, 48293, and 49112).

Yes. The law does not prohibit issuing a work permit to an expelled minor. An expelled minor must be provided educational services. Options of educational services include, but are not limited to, community day school, juvenile court school, or another school district (EC sections 48915, 48915.01, 48915.1, 48915.2 and 48926).

Yes. A work permit is required for minors employed regardless of relationship. However a work permit is not required when the parent or guardian is disciplining or training their child in the family business and financial pay is not received (EC Section 49141).

Exemptions are allowed for agricultural or domestic work performed on land that is owned, operated, or controlled by the parents (LC Section 1394).

Yes. Workers' Compensation Insurance must be provided for all employees regardless of whether the employee/minor is the employer’s child (LC sections 3700 and 3701).

Yes. The only exception from child labor and compulsory school attendance laws for an emancipated minor is that he/she may apply for a “Permit to Employ and Work” without a parent’s permission. An emancipated minor may sign, in place of the parent, the "Statement of Intent to Employ Minor and Request for Work Permit-Certificate of Age" (FC Section 7050[e][16]). "Emancipated minor" is defined in FC Section 7002.

No. A school must never issue a blank work permit. The work permit must be returned completed to the school (EC sections 49162 and 49163). Then only the school has discretion to issue a work permit, and the school’s lawfully authorized work permit issuer (EC Section 49110) shall complete all conditions as to its issuance.

No. It is the position of DLSE that the California Labor Code does not apply to a state or local agency unless the agency is expressly included in the statute. The child labor statutes do not expressly include state or local agencies.

All governmental agencies are subject to FLSA and shall follow all child labor provisions, including having a Certificate of Age to verify permissible employment (29 CFR Section 212). California issues Certificates of Age using the “Statement of Intent to Employ a Minor and Request for a Work Permit - Certificate of Age” (CDE Form B1-1) to provide proof of age (EC Section 49114).

However, a charter school is not considered a school district, nor could it be considered a governmental entity. Many times, charter schools are run by private entities or nonprofit entities comprised of elected or appointed board members. Therefore, minors employed by a charter school are not exempt for the work permit require.

To be classified as an “independent contractor,” the person needs to be licensed or certificated in a particular expertise, and have specialty skills, and the service is not offered through the employer. This excludes a minor from Independent Contracting employment.

A work permit is only issued to minors who have an employer and they are accepting the responsibilities of the minor as their employee.

According to the DLSE, employers oftentimes improperly classify their employees as “independent contractors” so that they, the employer, do not have to pay payroll taxes, minimum wage, overtime, or comply with other wage and hour law requirements such as providing meal periods and rest breaks, or reimburse their workers for business expenses incurred in performing their jobs. Additionally, employers do not have to cover independent contractors under Workers’ Compensation Insurance, and are not liable for payments under unemployment insurance, disability insurance, or social security. The definition and requirements of independent contractors eliminates minors for employment.

EC Section 49110 specifies that only the following persons may issue work permits:

  • Superintendent of any local public school district in which any minor resides; or
  • Superintendent of county schools if the minor resides in a portion of a county not under the jurisdiction of the superintendent of a school district; or
  • Person holding a services credential with a specialization in pupil personnel services authorized, in writing, by the superintendent; or
  • Work Experience Education teacher/coordinator authorized, in writing, by the superintendent; or
  • Person authorized, in writing, by the superintendent if the designated person is not available, and delay in issuing a work permit would jeopardize the ability of the pupil to secure work; or
  • Person authorized, in writing, to issue work permits if the superintendent is absent from the district and the district does not employ a person holding the necessary credential or a Work Experience Education teacher/coordinator; or
  • Principal of a public or private school or an administrator who has been designated by the principal and has self-certified his/her working knowledge of child labor laws.
  • The DLSE issues all entertainment industry work permits.

Yes. The principal of a private school may issue, or designate another administrator in the school to issue work permits to pupils who attend the school. If the principal of a private school chooses not to issue work permits, work permits may be issued to pupils attending that school by the local school district (EC Section 49110.5).

A principal who issues a work permit using a Self-Certification process shall provide: (a) A copy of his or her self-certification (may use CDE Form B1-8), (b) A copy of the work permit application (CDE Form B1-1) and (c) A copy of the work permit (CDE Form B1-4) to the superintendent of the school district in which the school is located (EC Section 49110.1).

Yes. The California Department of Education has found that, pursuant to written authorization from the superintendent of the public school district, a work permit may validly be issued for such a pupil. California’s compulsory school attendance laws apply.

However, now that charter and private schools have the ability to issue their own work permits many schools districts may not want to assume the responsibility or liability of this process. It is up to each school district on their work permit policies in place.

No. A work permit may be issue to only minors between the ages of 12 and 18 years of age (EC Section 49111).

A child under school age is probably being employed in the entertainment industry. In such a case, permission to work must be issued by the State Labor Commissioner through the Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (EC sections 48225, 48225.5, and 49111; LC sections 1308.5, 1308.6, and 1308.7).

The minor/student, after obtaining a promise of employment, shall obtain the "Statement of Intent to Employ a Minor and Request for a Work Permit - Certificate of Age" (CDE Form B1-1) from the school.

The minor must complete the "minor" section, request that the employer and parent complete their sections (making certain to obtain both required signatures), and then return the completed form to the appropriate school authority.

The school’s authorized work permit issuer shall verify all information on the work permit to be issued. If all requirements are met, the authorized work permit issuer may issue the work permit (CDE Form B1-4).

The local school district or school has discretion to impose additional requirements for the issuance of a work permit. For instance, the school district may have a policy requiring the minor to maintain a 2.0 grade point average (GPA). In such a case, the work permit issuer would need to verify the student’s GPA.

No. The date of birth may be verified by using a birth certificate, baptism certificate, or a passport in lieu of school records. When there are no available official documents, an affidavit by the parent or legal guardian may be sufficient (EC Section 49133).

If school records are not used, a photocopy of the age verification document should be attached to the school's copy of the work permit.

No. The work permit application (CDE Form B1-1) and work permit (CDE Form B1-4) shall contain, among other information, the name, address, telephone number, and Social Security number of the minor (EC sections 49115 and 49163). The statutes do not specify that the card itself must be presented, only the number.

The California Department of Education maintains that the work permit application (CDE Form B1-1) signed by the parent or legal guardian ("I hereby certify that…the information herein is correct and true") holds the adult responsible for providing accurate information.

EC Section 49110 authorizes school officials to issue work permits to eligible students. Students eligible for work permits are subject to California’s compulsory attendance laws. The principal of a private school (including Home Schools) may issue, or designate another administrator in the school to issue work permits to pupils who attend the school by self-certifying a working knowledge of child labor laws and all laws pertaining to the issuance of work permits.

However, principals and designated administrators are not authorized to issue work permits to his or her own child (EC Section 49110).

Yes. As a condition of issuance, the local district, school, or work permit issuer may reduce maximum work hours and impose additional occupational restrictions not specified in statute or regulation. The authorized work permit issuer does not have discretion to extend hours beyond the maximum specified in statute or waive any occupational restrictions specified in statute or regulation.

Federal law defines a week that “school is in session” as a week in which school is scheduled for one day. An example might be the week during which Thanksgiving is celebrated. A school might be in session only on Monday and Tuesday. The minor could work up to eight hours per day on Tuesday (a day preceding a non-school day), Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as long as the minor does not exceed 40 hours per week (EC sections 49112, 49116, 49130, 49131, 49132, and 49133; LC Section 1391).

Yes. Minors who are employed in personnel attendance occupations or enrolled into a Work Experience Education, or cooperative vocational education program, are authorized to work up to 48 hours per week (EC Section 49116; LC Section 1391.1).

A full-time work permit may be issued to a minor 14 to 16 years of age when a diploma of graduation from the prescribed elementary is held, and one of the following circumstances exist: (1) the parent or guardian of the minor child presents a sworn statement that the parent or guardian of the minor is incapacitated for labor through illness or injury, or that through the death or desertion of the father or mother of the minor, the family is in need of the earnings of the minor and that sufficient aid cannot be secured in any other manner; (2) the minor is unable to reside with his or her family and the earnings of the minor are necessary for the support of the minor; and (3) the minor is residing with a foster care provider, or guardian receiving foster care funds for the minor, if the provider or guardian obtains written authorization from the minor’s social worker, probation officer, or child protective services worker acting as an officer of the court. A work permit may be issued to a minor who is subject to this paragraph only if the child’s case plan documents that the purpose of the employment is to further the goal of emancipation pursuant to Part 6 (commencing with Section 7000) of Division 11 of the FC, or to enable the minor to gain knowledge of necessary work skills and work habits, and of the responsibilities related to maintaining employment. The person issuing the work permit shall sign a statement that he or she, or a competent person designated by him or her, has investigated the conditions under which the application for the work permit has been made and has found that, in his or her judgment, the earnings of the minor are necessary for the family to support the minor or that the earnings of the minor are necessary to support the minor, and that sufficient aid cannot be secured in any other manner. Before issuing a work permit to a minor who is subject to circumstance (3), the person issuing the work permit shall sign a statement that he or she has received authorization from the minor’s social worker, probation officer, or child protective services worker. A minor who applies for a work permit pursuant to this section shall be duly enrolled in a Work Experience Education program (EC Section 49130).

A full-time work permit issued to a minor 14 to 16 years-old shall expire no later than the end of the current school year (EC Section 49130).

No. While school is in session, an employer shall not employ a minor 14 or 15 years of age for more than three hours in any day, nor more than 18 hours in any week, nor during school hours. However, students that are enrolled in and employed in a school-supervised and school-administered work experience and career exploration program may be employed for no more than 23 hours per week, any portion of which may be during school hours (EC Section 49116).

A minimum school day in any high school or junior high school is defined as any day in which the minor is scheduled to attend school for 240 minutes. Anything less does not qualify as a school day, and work hours may be increased on such days even though the minor receives instruction on that day (EC sections 46141 and 46142; LC Section 1391).

Exemptions to the 240-minute standard are for students who attend evening high school, a regional occupational center, opportunity classes, a continuation high school, late afternoon or Saturday vocational training programs conducted under a federally approved plan for vocational education, and for students enrolled in Independent Study Program (ISP) or an approved Work Experience Education program (EC Section 46141). In addition, students in grades eleven and twelve who attend a college or a university part-time are exempt from a full 240-minute minimum day.

Continuation high schools are required to have a 180-minute school day. Independent study programs are defined instructionally in the California Education Code, but there are no regulations concerning "seat time."

State law has no definition of "school in session" but the federal government defines the term as any week in which the public school for the county is in session for at least one day.

The school shall retain a copy of the work permit application (CDE Form B1-1) and the work permit (CDE Form B1-4) until the end of the fourth year after the work permit was issued. Those files may be retained on a computer disk(s) and, if requested, can be printed for examination (EC Section 41020; 5 CCR Section 16026).

The employer shall retain the minor’s work permit until the beginning of the fourth year after the work permit was issued (LC sections 1174 and 1299).

There is no definitive answer to this question. Each situation must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Who has jurisdiction? The state or federal government? Is the casino run by the tribe or an outside entity? Who is the employer? Is the work area restricted to the restaurant, or do the minors serve meals in the casino? Is the restaurant distinctly separate from the casino (e.g., separated by a door), or is it part of the gaming area?

Contact your regional office of the DLSE with questions about specific situations.

Yes. The Industrial Welfare Commission Orders of 2001 state that "employees during their first one-hundred sixty (160) hours of employment in occupations in which they have no previous similar or related experience, may be paid not less than 85 percent of the minimum wage rounded to the nearest nickel."

The FLSA applies to any person involved in an employer-employee relationship. The FLSA is administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, with respect to private employment, state and local government employment, and other agency employment (29 CFR Section 204).

The mere knowledge by an employer of work done for him/her by another is sufficient to create the employment relationship under the FLSA. The U.S. Department of Labor has always considered work performed as part of an evaluation or training program to be compensable.

Determining if a minor is an employee under the FLSA will depend on all of the circumstances surrounding the activities on the premises of the employer. A minor is not required to be paid if he/she is a trainee, a volunteer, or donates labor to a school (e.g., in-school placement). In the event that the minor is not an employee and is classified as an unpaid trainee for educational or academic purposes, a work permit is not required. However, a "Request for Volunteer/Unpaid Trainee Authorization for California Minors" (CDE Form B1-6) may be completed to inform the parent/guardian, the local educational agency and worksite supervisor of the minor’s placement.

The trainee is not an employee within the meaning of the FLSA if all six of the following criteria apply to the situation:

1. The training, even though it includes actual operation of the employer's facilities, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school (i.e., a curriculum is followed and the student is under continued and direct supervision either by representatives of the school or by employees of the business).
2. The training is intended to benefit the trainee/student rather than to meet the labor needs of the business.
3. The trainee/student does not displace a regular employee, does not fill a vacant position, does not relieve an employee of assigned duties, and does not perform services that, although not ordinarily performed by employees, clearly are of benefit to the business.
4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainee/student and, on occasion, the employer’s operations may actually be impeded.
5. The trainee/student is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period.
6. The employer and the trainee/student understand that the trainee/student is not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.

If you answer "yes" to all six criteria, the individual student is not an employee within the meaning of the FLSA, wages are not required.

If you answered "no" to any of the six criteria, either the business or the employer must compensate the worker; all parties are jointly responsible for compliance with labor laws.

Sign waiving is unauthorized for 14 and 15 year olds only (29 CFR Section 570.33). Even though sign waiving is not restricted by statues for 16 and 17 year olds, numerous regulations emphasize that no minor shall be employed in any occupations dangerous to the life or limb, or injurious to the health or morals of the minor (LC Section 1294; 29 CFR Section 570.71).

This depends on the type of home employment. The DLSE shall issue an Industrial Home-Workers Permit for the reasons of manufacturing goods in the home (LC sections 2650 and 2660). All industrial Home-Worker employment sites shall be free of infectious, contagious, or communicable disease, and shall be clean, sanitary, and free from infectious, contagious, or communicable disease (LC Section 2661).

The only exclusions to a work permit for parent/guardian employment is when the minor is employed in agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, or domestic labor on or in connection with the property the parent or guardian owns, operates, or controls (LC Section 1394). All other occupational employments are subject to the requirement of a work permit.

Yes, a school may provide a list containing the name and contact information from employers contained in work permits to labor officials.

However, each school should consult with its attorney before disclosing work permits to prevent the disclosure of personally identifiable information that is protected by state or federal laws (EC sections 49164 and 49180; LC Section 1299; Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99.

Yes. According to California Labor Code Section

1299 and Education Code Section 49160, work permits are required for California working minors.

Labor and education codes apply during all seasons and times of year, even during the summer months or school breaks.

There are 10 exclusions to work permit requirements for California minors:

  • When the minor has graduated from a high school maintaining a four-year course above the eighth grade (EC Section 49101)
  • When the minor has as had an equal amount of education in a private school (EC Section 49110)
  • When the minor has been awarded with a certificate of proficiency, better known as the California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE) (EC Section 49101; LC Section 1286)
  • When the minor has been awarded with a certificate of equivalency, better known as the General Educational Development (GED) (EC Section 51425)
  • When the minor is employed by parents/guardians in agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, or domestic labor on or in connection with property the parents/guardians owns, operates, or controls (LC Section 1394)
  • When the minor is self-employed (EC sections 49112 and 49160; LC Section 1299)
  • When the minor is employed by a governmental agency (i.e. state and local agencies) (29 USC 203(s)(1))
  • When the minor receives payment for services or prize money for horseback riding exhibition, contest, or event (EC sections 49119 and 49165; LC Section 1308)
  • When the minor is irregularly employed in odd jobs in private homes, such as baby-sitting, lawn mowing, and leaf raking (18 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 114, August 31, 1951)
  • When the minor is an unpaid-trainee, volunteer, or non-paid student (5 CCR Section 10121)

The work permit statutes are silent on charging a fee for a work permit. There is a general state constitutional guarantee in Art. IX, sec. 5 that the public schools shall be free. The "free school guarantee" has been applied not only to the mandatory instructional program, but to school sanctioned extra and co-curricular activities like choir or cheerleading as well.

In conclusion, everything a school or district is required by law to do is not considered part of "education" that must be provided free. A reasonable argument could be made that work permits are not part of "school" to the extent that they are paid jobs.

The same principle would not necessarily apply to private school students requesting work permits from public school districts. There is no clear answer on this topic and each school district is recommended to exercise their local discretion.

With that noted, it is possible that school districts charge non-enrolled students for work permits or enrolled students not in relation to a free public educational program (such as Work Experience Education).

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