Child Labor Laws & Regulations Overview
The following is a brief overview of California's Child Labor Laws. For more detailed information please review the State of California's child labor law booklet.
All minors under age 18 (including minors employed by parents) must have a work permit. Minors must meet mandatory school attendance laws and academic requirements in order to obtain work permits. Schools have the legal right to restrict or reduce the type of employment and/or the hours of work if evidence is shown that the schoolwork or health of the minor is being impaired by the employment.
- Minors who have high school diplomas or passed the state proficiency examination
- Employment type:
- Private homes doing occasional odd jobs
- Sale or delivery of newspaper, if self-employed
- Agricultural or domestic work on property owned, operated, or controlled by minor's parents
Work Permits Must:
- Be renewed at the start of each new school year or when the student obtains a new job.
- Be kept on file at the minor's work site.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance:
- All minors must be covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance, including minors employed by parents and minors employed by businesses operating from a private residence.
Hours Minors Are Allowed to Work: Ages 16-17
School in Session
- 4 hours maximum per day Monday-Thursday.
- 8 hours maximum per day Friday-Sunday.
- 32 total hours per week
- 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- 5 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. if no school next day
- 8 hours maximum per day
- 48 total hours per week
- 5 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. any day of the week
Hours Minors Are Allowed to Work: Ages 14-15
School in Session
- 3 hours maximum per day Mon.-Fri.
- 8 hours maximum per day Sat.-Sun.
- 18 total hours per week
- 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- 8 hours maximum per day
- 40 total hours per week
- 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. any day of the week (summer hours 6/1 through Labor Day 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
Hours Minors Are Allowed to Work: Ages 12-13, All Year
- Prohibited in firms subject to Fair Labor Standards Act. For further information call: Federal Wage & Hour Office (626) 966-0478
Hours Minors Are Allowed to Work: Under Age 12
- Prohibited except in entertainment industry. For entertainment, work permits contact: State Industrial Welfare Commissioner's Office (909) 383-4334.
- In most cases, a minor must be paid the minimum wage.
- If an employee works a split shift, he/she must be paid one extra hour at the minimum wage.
- If an employee reports to work but is not given work and is sent home, the employee is owed a minimum of 2 hours of pay.
- If an employee is asked not to clock in, the employee is free to leave and cannot be required to wait without being paid as he/she is under the direction and control of the employer.
Hazardous Occupations for All Minors — Federal Law
The Federal Government, under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA), has listed Hazardous Occupations in which minors under the age of 18 years are prohibited from working.
- Motor vehicle driving on public roads (This does not prohibit a minor from driving on private property e.g. auto dealer lot)
- Power-driven woodworking machines
- Exposure to radioactive substances
- Power-driven hoisting apparatus (Includes automobile hoist, lift truck, forklift, elevator, crane, derrick, bobcat, etc.)
- Power-driven metal-forming, punching, & shearing machines (Includes rolling machines, pressing or punching machines, bending machines, etc.)
- Power-driven bakery machines (Includes dough mixer, batter mixer, bread divider, molding machine, bread slicing and wrapping, cookie or cracker machine.)
- Power-driven paper-products machines (Includes paper bailers, box crushers, etc.)
- Power-driven circular saws, band saws, & guillotine shears
- Roofing operations
- Excavation operations
- For a complete list, contact the Federal Wage & Hour Office at (626) 966-0478
Minors Under 18 Years of Age
- Selling or serving alcoholic beverages
- Building or construction work of any kind
- Delivering goods from motor vehicles
- In the vicinity of moving machinery
- Hazardous occupations
- Operating an auto or truck
- In the vicinity of explosives
Hazardous Occupations for Minors Under 16 Years of Age — California Law
- In or about a gasoline service station except as cashiers, clerical workers, or merchandise labelers
- Public messenger service
- In or about dangerous equipment & power driven machinery, aircraft, or vessels
- Selling to passing motorists: newspapers, candy, flowers, or other merchandise or commodities
- Selling door-to-door unless the following conditions are met:
- Minors work in pairs as team
- One adult supervisor for ten or fewer minors
- Within sight or sound of supervisor once every 15 minutes
- Returned to home or rendezvous point daily
- Employer has complied with IWC registration requirements
For Entertainment Work Permits
- For entertainment work permits contact: State Industrial Welfare Commissioner's Office (909) 383-4334.
- You will still need to receive the authorization of the school site principal in order to apply for an entertainment work permit with the State Industrial Welfare Commissioner's Office.
- The school site still has the authority to revoke an entertainment work permit for just cause such as behavioral incidents or an impact to the students' academic performance and/or grade point average.