Frequently Asked Questions About Work Permits

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:

  • students who have graduated from high school or passed the California High School Proficiency Exam even they are under 18 years old,
  • minors who are self-employed, and
  • minors working in agricultural or domestic jobs where their parents own, operate, or control the business.

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

No. Work permits are valid until five days after the opening of the next school year. So permits already issued during the 2014-2015 school year will continue to be valid throughout summer of 2015. Of course, if a student changes jobs, he will need a new permit since each permit is issued only for a particular job location.

Where should my student obtain a work permit?

Beginning on January 1, 2010, 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 in Question 10 below.

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 she can obtain a permit?

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

  • 5.1.1. the superintendent of the school district in which the student resides, or
  • 5.1.2. 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:

  • the county superintendent of schools, or
  • 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 homeschooled children obtain work permits?

Yes. However since parents cannot issue work permits to their own children, homeschooled students must get permits from an administrator other than their own parents. 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/her own child. In the case of a single family private school where parents operate their own private school, the parents will have several options. They can send their child to one of the alternative sources listed in Questions 5 or 6 for a permit, or the parents could engage an additional administrator to issue permits.

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

Nothing in the law prohibits a private school from hiring additional administrators at any time. Thus, a homeschool parent who is the principal of his/her own family-sized school could add an administrator to the school staff. In order for the new administrator to issue permits, s/he must meet the self-certification process described in Question 10 and must be authorized by the principal to issue permits. Further, nothing requires that school administrators work full-time, nor that they are 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.

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.” The certification process is described in the Work Permit Handbook for Students which can be viewed from the California Department of Education website.

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 s/he becomes aware that the student is not legally eligible for a work permit.

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

Yes and No. Under the old 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?

Forms are available in the California Work Permit Handbook which can viewed on the CDE website. The individual forms are also available for download on this site. Three forms are needed. They are Form B1-1, “Intent to Employ Minor and Request for Work Permit,” Form B1-4 “Permit to Employ and Work,” and the self-certification form if a school principal or administrator plans to apply to issue a 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. The B1-4 form 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. Again, the CDE handbook covers all the requirements and explanations for these forms.

What is the CDE’s website?

The main CDE website is www.cde.ca.gov. Currently the page that covers work permit information is http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ct/we/. You may questions about the work permit process or request further information via the email address shown on their work permit page.

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