Work Permits

1. 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.

2. If my child already has a work permit, does he need a new one after January 1?

Not necessarily. Work permits are valid until five days after the opening of the next school year. So permits already issued during the 2009-2010 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 location.

3. Where should my student obtain a work permit if we have established our own private school?
All public and private school principals (including homeschooling parents who have established a private school in their own home) can self-certify that they understand the laws related to work permits and may issue work permits to students enrolled in their schools. The principal may also authorize another administrator to issue the permits. 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 (parents are homeschooling using the private school option), the principal (parent) will have to arrange for a different administrator to issue the permit. 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.

4. Is there another way to get a work permit?

Yes. Under the new law, the student may be able to obtain a permit from one the school district or school. They will not always be willing to issue it.

  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.

5. 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 anadministrator is paid, he would have to meet the criminal record summary requirements of Education Code Section 44237.

6. 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.

7.What is the certification process for principals and administrators?

The new 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." There is a CDE form for this purpose.

8.Does any other paperwork have to be given to the local school district superintendent?

Yes. A copy of each issued work permit must be given to the local 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.

9.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?
This person should be familiar, in particular, with the requirements for issuing a work permit. They should have have general familiarity with child labor laws. The information is in the following document:

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

11. Can homeschooled children obtain work permits if they are enrolled in a pubic school program or charter school?

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.

12.What is the CDE's website?

The main CDE website is Work permit information is HERE.

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