What are the work permit and I-9 requirements for employing a minor in California?
California Work Permit
With limited exceptions, a work permit is required in California for minors who are over 12 years old and under 18 and have not graduated from high school or have obtained a comparable equivalency certificate.
Under the California Education Code Section 49111, a permit to work may be issued to any minor over the age of 12 years and under the age of 18 years. A minor under age 12 cannot obtain a work permit and is not permitted to be employed unless an exception exists. Mostly that exception has been used by parents of children working on the family farm.
To obtain a work permit, the minor needs to complete a Statement of Intent to Employ Minor and Request a Work Permit. This may be obtained from the minor’s school or school district office. This form must be signed by the parent or guardian and the prospective employer in order to have a work permit issued.
Once a work permit is issued, it must be kept on file by the employer.
Work permits are issued on an annual basis even though the minor is going to be working only when school is not in session.
More information on work permits and employment of minors is available in the HR Library on HRCalifornia.com.
Child Labor Law Restrictions
In addition, employers need to be aware of federal and state child labor law restrictions that apply to the type of work performed by a minor based on his/her age and days and hours of work.
For more information, the state Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) has put out a comprehensive manual on Child Labor Laws. Employers may access and download the manual from the DLSE website, www.dir.ca.gov/dlse.
(Note: This section updated 3/26/2019.)
You must complete a Form I-9 for all employees. If a minor under the age of 18 can present a List B document, then you complete the Form I-9 in the same manner as for any other employee. However, if a minor doesn’t have a List B document (such as a school identification card with a photo), then the employee’s parent or legal guardian may establish the minor’s identity. In that situation, do the following:
Under Section 1 of the form, the minor’s parent or legal guardian:
• Completes the minor’s information and checks the box by the minor’s status;
• Enters “minor under age 18” in the signature field; and
• Completes the Preparer and/or Translator Certification field.
Under Section 2, the employer:
• Enters “minor under age 18” under List B;
• Enters the List C document presented by the employee.
For more information on the I-9 requirements for minors, go to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website at www.uscis.gov.
For more information on the Form I-9, visit I-9 Form: Verifying Eligibility in the HR Library on HRCalifornia.
The Labor Law Helpline is a service to California Chamber of Commerce preferred and executive members. For expert explanations of labor laws and Cal/OSHA regulations, not legal counsel for specific situations, call (800) 348-2262 or submit your question at www.hrcalifornia.com.