What to know about employing minors

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2021 | Employment Law |

Most companies have at least a few minors on the payroll. While, in many businesses, a minor may be in an entry-level service position. In California, many minor employees are child actors and other artists. Because of California’s unique minor working population, there are important requirements placed by the state, such as:

Minors have rights in matters of education

By law, any minor under 15 must be in school full time, with some exceptions. Among those exceptions are:

  • High-school graduates
  • Those that attend alternative schools
  • Those who receive tutoring
  • Those on an approved absence
  • Those with a “justifiable personal reason”

While these exceptions do cover many circumstances, most working minors must work around their school schedule.

Minors may not work in some industries

California has strict laws prohibiting minors of certain ages from certain industries. This is age-specific, and each age range has the following specific restrictions:

  • 18-year-olds: This is the minimum age that a person may be employed in hazardous occupations and the service of alcohol.
  • 16-year-olds: At this age, minors can be considered freely hirable in most industries and can accept apprenticeships
  • 15 and 14-year-olds: Below 16, all minors must have a permit to work that expires each year. The school board may cancel this permit at any time. With a permit, they may do such work as basic clerical activities, cashiering and kitchen work.
  • 12 and under: The labor department will not issue permits to work for anyone under 12.

However, there is one industry that any child from ages 15 days to 18 may work in: the entertainment industry.

Hours, jobs and other restrictions

Employing a minor workforce is complicated. Before opening your ranks to younger people, you may want to correspond with a skilled attorney who understands California’s restrictions.


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