How to Get a Work Permit at 14
A mixed race African-American and Hispanic teenage boy working in a supermarket at the checkout counter. He is ready to scan groceries at the cash register. He is smiling at the camera.

In the United States, it is generally not possible for a minor (a person under the age of 18) to obtain a work permit on their own. In most cases, a parent or legal guardian must apply for a work permit on behalf of the minor.

For minors, there are two different forms of employment permits. The law in your state will determine if you need one to be hired. Employment certificates (one example) show the minor’s age and documentation of their employment eligibility. The minor’s age certificate proves that she is of legal age to be employed.

What is a Work Permit?

How to get a work permit at 14 for a minor takes quite a rigorous process. However,  there are two different forms of employment permits. The law in your state will determine if you need one to be hired. Employment certificates (one example) show the minor’s age and documentation of their employment eligibility. The minor’s age certificate proves that she is of legal age to be employed.

Although some states do, there is no federal requirement that children obtain working documents before beginning employment. You must present these to an employer if they are necessary for your state before starting employment.

Federal law limits the types of employment and hours that minors can work. Different rules apply depending on the minor’s age and the position they would be filling.

Review the minimum age criteria, the process for obtaining a work permit, the location for getting working papers, and the details you must submit to obtain a work permit.

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What is the Minimum Age for Work?

Before figuring out how to get a work permit at 14, it is essential to know how the minimum age for work is decided. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the minimum age for most (non-agricultural) jobs is 14. There are certain exceptions, including employment like babysitting, household tasks, newspaper delivery, and a few others.

Your ability to work a certain number of hours each week is determined by your age. These hours change between June 1 and Labor Day, depending on school days, school weeks, and other factors.

The FLSA also prohibits children from working in a number of dangerous occupations, including coal mining, operating balers and compactors, roofing, using specific power tools, and more.

Many states also have child labor statutes with lower minimum ages than the FLSA. The higher minimum age is always applicable in these circumstances. Contact your state department of labor for further details on child labor legislation.

When You Need a Work Permit

Before beginning a career, you might need a work permit, depending on where you reside. In some states, individuals under the age of 16 must have work permits, while in others, those under the age of 18 must. Some states do not even require them.

The guidance office at your school or your state’s department of labor website is the best places to find out if you require working papers.

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If you require working papers, the counselors can either provide you with the form you need or direct you to where you can obtain it.

How to Get a Work Permit at 14 (Requirements)

To apply for a work permit for a minor in the United States, the parent or legal guardian will typically need to do the following:

  1. Check the state’s laws on child labor: Each state has rules on the types of work minors can do and the hours they can work. It’s essential to ensure that the work the minor will be doing is allowed by state law. Knowing states’ jurisdiction on getting a work permit at 14 is very important.
  2. Find an employer: The minor will need to find an employer willing to hire them and sponsor their work permit.
  3. Obtain a work permit application: The parent or legal guardian can typically obtain a work permit application from the school district or the state labor department.
  4. Complete the application: The parent or legal guardian must complete the application and provide any required documentation, such as proof of the minor’s age and a letter from the employer indicating that the minor will be working for them.
  5. Submit the Application: The parent or legal guardian must submit the completed application and any required documentation to the appropriate agency, typically the school district or the state labor department.
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Once the work permit has been issued, the minor will be able to work in the United States legally. It’s important to note that work permits are typically only valid for a specific period and may need to be renewed.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a minor work permit in Ohio?

Students and minors should utilize a pre-application form to gather the relevant data and consent from their prospective employers and from their parents or legal guardians before applying for a minor work permit.

Can 14-year-olds work in California?

All juveniles under the age of 18 who are employed in California must have a permit to work, with a few exceptions outlined in the Child Labor Law Booklet. Employers must have a legal Permit to Employ and Work before allowing a minor to work.

Can a 14-year-old work in Texas?

According to state law, 14 and 15-year-olds: Cannot work more than eight hours in a single day. Can only work a maximum of 48 hours per week. Unable to leave for work before 5 a.m.

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