Business Category Business: career motivation and tips to move ahead

How to help your teen get a worker's permit

Worker's permits were created to protect teens from being overworked and underpaid, and to ensure that they don't work in dangerous environments.

They also verify the teen's date of birth, age, enrollment status and overall attendance in school, and protect employers from being prosecuted for hiring under-aged workers. You can help--obtaining a worker's permit is free and fairly easy to do.

Verify whether or not your teen will need a work permit by checking with his guidance counselor at school. Most states require a work permit for those under the age of 18. He should get hired by the employer first, as he'll need to know exactly what the job will entail before he can get the work permit.

Ensure that your teen's job does not involve operating powerful machinery such as meat slicers, bakery machines, saws or forklifts. Teens are also not allowed to work in demolition, roofing, mining, logging, meatpacking, slaughtering, excavation, or anyplace exposed to radiation or explosives. A work permit will not be issues for these types of jobs.

Make sure that your teen isn't doing any cooking or baking as part of the job if he's under 16, unless it's performed right at the serving counter. Other jobs off-limits for 14- and 15-year-olds include loading or unloading trucks or other vehicles, operating machinery (except some office equipment), construction and manufacturing. They are also barred from jobs that involve working on scaffolding or ladders and jobs in warehouses.

Verify that your teen's work schedule follows current labor laws. During the school year, kids under 16 may not work more than three hours on school days, more than eight hours on weekends and holidays, or more than 18 total hours per week. In the summer, they are allowed to work a maximum of 40 hours per week (eight hours per day).

Take your teen to get an application for a work permit from his school's administrative office. Once he has received a job offer, he will need to immediately apply for the work permit.

Help submit the work permit to her school along with proof of her date of birth (driver's license, birth certificate, passport or ID card). Wait three to five days to receive the work permit.


  • If your child is under the age of 14, he may not be able to acquire a work permit. However, some jobs, such as camp counselors and golf caddies, don't require permits and can be performed by kids under 14. You can help by visiting the U.S. Department of Labor teen worker page for more information (see Resources below). Students are required to obtain a new work permit for each job. A student cannot begin working until he provides a valid worker's permit to the employer.

Things Needed

  • Proof of the student's age
  • Work permit application
  • Resume