work permits

Students under the age of 18 will need to obtain a work permit for their school to be ellibile to work in the state of California. A law went into effect in 2010 that impacted work permits for privately homeschooled students. Even in a single-family private school (PSA), students can still obtain a work permit.

CDE Work Permit InfoChild Labor Laws

A new law regarding work permits went into effect on January 1, 2010.

Note that issuing a form does not create a valid work permit; the form must be issued in compliance with the laws and if it is not, then the permit is not valid. A minor working without a valid permit could lose his job and his employer could be subject to fines. Additionally, if forms are issued unlawfully, it will likely result in renewed scrutiny of the work permit process and a push to enact stricter restrictions.


Self-Certification Form for private school principals and administrators who issue work permits

B1-1 B Intent to Employ form to be completed by student and employer and submitted to the school administrator who then submits to the local public school district superintendent

B1-4 B Work Permit form to be completed by the authorized administrator and submitted to the local public school district superintendent

General Information

Who needs a work permit?

Generally, children who are employed and who are under age 18 need a work permit. There are exceptions; some of the most common exceptions include:

  • no permit is needed for a student who has graduated from high school or passed the California High School Proficiency Exam even if the student is under 18 years old,
  • work permits are not needed for minors who are self-employed,
  • work permits are not needed for minors working in agricultural or domestic jobs where their parents own, operate, or control the business.
  • work permits are not generally needed for minors who deliver newspapers, work at odd jobs such as yard work, baby-sitting, or work in private homes where the minor is not regularly employed.
When does a child need a new work permit?

A work permit is issued individually for a specific job and specific student. If a student has two jobs, he needs two work permits. Generally, a work permit is valid until five days after the opening of the next school year. So permits already issued during the current school year will continue to be valid throughout the current school year. Of course, if a student changes jobs, he will need a new permit since each permit is issued only for a particular job.

Where should my student obtain a work permit?

All public and private school principals who self-certify that they understand the laws related to work permits may issue work permits to students enrolled in their schools. The principal may also authorize another administrator to issue the permits. This means that most students will obtain a work permit from their own schools.

However, school principals and administrators cannot issue permits to their own children. So in a situation where the principal’s own child attends his school, the principal will have to arrange for a different administrator to issue the permit to the principal’s son or daughter. Additionally, this other administrator will need to be authorized by the principal to issue permits and will have to meet the self-certification requirement described later in this article.

Will all private and public schools issue the work permits?

No. In order to issue work permits, the principal or other administrator will have to self-certify that he understands the requirements in existing law for issuing a work permit. Some schools will not have anyone on staff who is familiar with the laws governing work permits, and so will choose not to issue permits at all. Others may be willing to issue permits eventually, but must first familiarize themselves with the laws so that they can complete the certification.

If my student's school does not issue work permits, is there some other way he can obtain a permit?

Yes. Under the 2010 law, if a student’s school does not issue permits, the student may obtain a permit from one of the following sources:

  1. the superintendent of the school district in which the student resides, or
  2. any work experience education teacher or person who holds a services credential with a specialization in pupil personnel services, so long as the person issuing the permit has written authorization by the school district superintendent to issue permits.
If my student's school does not issue work permits, and we don't live in an area under a school district authority, is there another way to get a permit?

Yes. If the student lives in an area not covered by a school district, and if the student does not attend a charter school, he may obtain a permit from one of these sources:

  1. the county superintendent of schools, or
  2. any certificated work experience education teacher or coordinator, or any person who holds a services credential with a specialization in pupil personnel services, so long as the person issuing the permit is authorized by the county superintendent of schools in writing.
Can a work permit be revoked?

Yes. Parents may revoke a work permit by revoking their permission for the student to have a job. Additionally, the person who issued the permit may revoke it, and the superintendent of a school district may revoke a work permit issued by the principal of a public or private school located within the district if the superintendent becomes aware of any grounds upon which the pupil may be deemed ineligible for a work permit under existing law.

Homeschoolers and Work Permits

Can homeschooled children obtain work permits?

Yes. However, since parents cannot issue work permits to their own children, homeschooled students must get permits from a school administrator who is not their own parent. In the case of a homeschooled student who is enrolled in a public school program, including a charter school, the procedure will be exactly the same as for all other public school students who attend campus programs. In the case of a homeschooled student who is enrolled in a private school satellite program (PSP), the PSP principal (or other administrator authorized by the principal) may issue the permit, as long as the permit is not going to his own child. In the case of a single-family private school where parents operate their own private school and file a PSA, the parents will have several options. They can send their child to one of the alternative sources listed above for a permit, or the parents could engage an additional administrator to issue permits.

How would it work for homeschooling parents have an additional administrator to issue permits?

Nothing in the law prohibits a private school from adding new administrators at any time. Thus, a homeschool parent who is the principal of his own family-sized school could add an administrator to his school staff. In order for the new administrator to issue permits, he must meet the self-certification process described below and must be authorized by the principal to issue permits. Further, nothing requires that school administrators work full-time, nor that they be paid employees, so the additional administrator could be a part-time volunteer. However, if an administrator is paid, he would have to meet the criminal record summary requirements of Education Code Section 44237.

If we decide to add an administrator to our homeschool program for the purpose of issuing work permits to our own children, do we need to file a new affidavit?

No. Affidavits are required to be filed just once each year. The affidavit provides a statistical “snap shot” of your school as it existed on a particular date between October 1-15. You do not need to file again every time your school information changes. Any new information will be reflected on next year’s affidavit. Additionally, the affidavit does not require that every administrator be listed by name. Only a couple of key administrators are identified by name on the affidavit form; the rest are simply included in the tally showing total number of administrators. So for the next year, the only item likely to change as a result of adding an administrator is the total number of administrators in your school.

Paperwork & Process

What is the certification process for principals and administrators?

The 2010 law requires that principals and administrators who issue work permits “shall provide a self-certification that he or she understands the requirements in existing law for issuing a work permit.” The law does not specifically state to whom the self-certification should be provided. However, the Department of Education is currently interpreting this section to mean that the principal or administrator should provide the self-certification to the public school district superintendent in which the private school is located because the same paragraph of the new law requires a copy of each work permit and application for work permit to be sent to the local district superintendent. We suggest, therefore, that private school principals or administrators complete the self-certification form available here and send it to the superintendent of the school district in which the school is located.

What paperwork must be given to the local school district superintendent?

A copy of each issued work permit and each “Intent to Employ” form must be given to the local public school district superintendent, who has the authority to revoke a permit if he or she becomes aware that the student is not legally eligible for a work permit. Additionally, as stated in the answer to the previous question, the Department of Education is interpreting the law to require that the self-certification form signed by the principal or administrator who is issuing permits must also be sent to the local district superintendent.

The CDE’s proposed forms indicate that they are to be sent to the local school district superintendent within 30 days after a work permit is issued. This deadline does not appear in the law; however, the law does require that the forms be sent and, in the absence of a specified time, such requirements are usually interpreted to mean within a reasonable time. We recommend sending copies of all forms issued at the end of each month. This practice would insure that forms are sent within the 30 days requested by the CDE without being burdensome to private school staff. The self-certification form should not need to be sent more than once, the first time the principal or administrator sends copies of issued permits.

Where does a principal or administrator find the legal requirements for work permits that he is supposed to understand in order to complete the certification process?

Currently, the most concise information is available on the CDE’s website on the Work Permit for Students page.

Isn't there a change in work hours under the law?

Yes and no. Prior to the 2010 law, students could work a prescribed number of hours each day and week based on whether the public school was in session. Under the new law, the hours a student can work are linked to the school in which the student is enrolled. So there is no change for public school students. However, the new law allows flexibility where a private school schedule is not the same as that of the public schools.

Where does a private school principal get the work permit forms to issue?

There are three forms to use. First, the principal or administrator who will be issuing work permits must self-certify that he understands the requirements in existing law for issuing a work permit. The B1-8 Form, “Statement of Intent for Self-Certification for Permit to Employ and Work” can be downloaded from the CDE website.
Second, the B1-1, “Intent to Employ Minor and Request for Work Permit,” is used by a minor to request a work permit. The B1-1 is taken by the minor to the employer who intends to hire the minor. The form is filled out and taken to the principal or administrator who will issue the work permit.

Third, the B1-4 “Permit to Employ and Work” is the actual work permit. It is filled out and signed by the principal or administrator who has received the B1-1 and approves the minor’s employment.

Laws Related to Work Permits

The following California codes are available here.

Business and Professions Code (B&PC)
B&PC 25663, 25663.5 & 25665

California Education Code (EC)
EC 33190, 35162, 35202-35208, 41601.3, 44031, 46113, 46140.5-46147, 46160-46161, 46170, 48180, 46300, 47600-47615, 48200-48205, 48222-48232, 48400-48416, 48430-48433, 48900.6, 48915-48916.1,48926, 49100-49119, 49130-49165, 49180-49183, 51745-51749.3, 51760-51769, 52300, 52314, 79140-79148, & 87031

Family Code (FC)
FC 6500-6501, 7000-7002, 7050, 7120, & 7122

Labor Code (LC)
LC 18-19, 90-98.9, 200-232, 350-356, 500-517, 550-558, 1171-1199, 1285-1312, 1390-1399, 1777.6, 2650-2662, 2750-2752, 2802, 3077-3079, 32003201, 3351-3368, 3605, 3700-3702, & 6400-6409.3

Penal Code (PC)
PC 273e -273f

Vehicle Code (VC)
VC 353, 12515, 15210, 17706-17708, & 34500

The California Code of Regulations is available here.

California Code of Regulations, Title 5, (5 CCR)
5 CCR, 10070-10075, 10080-10092, 10100-10111, 11001-11004, 11700-11705, & 16023-16027

California Code of Regulations, Title 8 (8 CCR)
8 CCR 205-212, 251-252, 11701-11707, 11750-11765, 11779-11784, 13500-13508, 13520, 13600-13604, 13620-13624, & 13670-13677

The Code of Federal Regulations is available here.

 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
29 CFR 570.2-570.50

Child Labor Laws PDF

published by the State of California, Department of Industrial Relations and Department of Labor Standards Enforcement.

The Child Labor Laws PDF information is dated 2013.

More work permit information is available here.