Can A 12 Year Old Get A Job In California?

Just before we dive into the topic: Can A 12 Year Old Get A Job In California, let’s have little background studies. We will also treat the following: where can 14-year-olds work in California, what legal age to work in California 2023, where can a 15-year-old work in California, and California work permit for minors. Let us go.

The average legal working age in California is 14. However, there are significant limitations on when, where, and how many hours minors between the ages of 14 and 17 can work. Most young people require parental consent to work. Numerous minors will still need to go to school. Different rules may apply to minors working in the entertainment industry.

For California, minors must be 14 years old to work. They must also be granted a Permit to Work and Employ. There are, however, some exceptions to these conditions. For example, minors under 12 can.

  • are paper routes,
  • babysit or
  • Mow lawns

Without Permit.

Some rules are specific to employment in the entertainment industry, where the age minimum to work may be as low as 15-days old.

California Work Permit For Minors?

Generally speaking, minors who have not completed high school must possess an Employment Permit and work. 1 They can apply for one through their school. The form comes from the California Department of Education. The form is ” Statement of Intent to Employ Minor and Request for Work Permit.” A parent or legal guardian must sign it. The permit is given to minors by school officials within their local district. The permit reads:

  • where the minor may be able to work,
  • what kind of role minors can play,
  • the number of hours a minor is allowed to work during the day and a week.
  • the number of hours a minor is allowed to work during the day and
  • any other restrictions or limitations. 2

A work permit may be canceled if the activity could harm the minor’s health or education or if conditions for obtaining a work permit are not being adhered to. 3

Minors do not require a work permit in order to:

  • Work as a self-employed person or
  • It is not uncommon to work on odd jobs at private homes, such as gardening as well as child-sitting. 4

The employer should also keep an original copy of their Permit to Work and work on the premises at all times. These permits should be available to the following staff members to be inspected:

  • school attendance officers
  • probation officers,
  • personnel for those employed by the State Board of Education, and
  • personnel in officers of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. 5


Employers must have A Permit to Employ and Work, regardless of whether it is the child’s parents. 6 The one exception to this rule is if the minor wants to work in:

  • agriculture,
  • horticulture,
  • viticulture,
  • domestic work or
  • work related to properties the parent or guardian owns operates, or manages. 7

A Permit to Work and Employ expires five days after the start of the school year.

Are there any occupations that minors are not allowed to do?

Yes, there are many jobs for minors who cannot perform in California. These prohibited jobs originate from the state’s employment and federal laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). They are based on a minor’s age.

According to California statute, those who are under 16 are forbidden from working:

  • on a train,
  • on a boat
  • tasks that require hazardous or harmful acids, soldering or chemicals, or making or packing paints, lead,
  • jobs that use or make toxic or hazardous dyes or create large quantities of dust.
  • on scaffolding
  • in excavations, tunnels, mines, or quarries
  • Jobs that process or make tobacco,
  • such as truck driver or
  • Any job that could be dangerous. 9

The law of the United States prohibits minors younger than 18 from engaging in a variety of dangerous jobs, such as:

  • In the logging business or a sawmill. In the sawmill or logging industry,
  • Using cranes, derricks, or any other machines that are powered by a motor, 11
  • That involves power-driven meat processing equipment as well as other tasks that involve slaughtering, packing meat processing, processing of meat, or rendering 12
  • Bakery machines that are in operation, 13
  • in the roofing business, in the roofing industry, or
  • In the industry of excavation. 15

If California and federal law clash in a legal dispute, the federal law with more excellent protection is in effect.

In addition, some limited jobs and occupations are not permitted. Minors can be employed in these jobs only if specific requirements are satisfied. For instance, minors in California are permitted to work in packaged stores that sell alcohol on premises for consumption off the premises; however, only if they are constantly monitored by a person at least 21 years of age.

Are there any exemptions that allow children to work?

In certain restricted situationschildren younger than 14 may work within California.

Children under 12 can:

  • Perform odd and irregular jobs for private households, such as babysitting, lawn mowing, and yard work. 17
  • Work in an agricultural area of risk, as that he or she has the permission of the legal guardian or parent who is the owner, operator, or manages the property, 18
  • Perform in the entertainment business, such as acting as a child, and 19 and
  • Self-employed work.

Of these positions, of which there are many, only those in the entertainment industry require a work permit.

Children 12 and older may also:

  • Distribute or sell periodicals, newspapers, magazines, or circulars as that the person is located within 50 miles of his or her home, 20 and
  • Sell cookies, candy, flowers, and things from door to door or at an established place in the streets. 21
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To be able to perform either or both of these jobs within the State of California However the child must:

  • Work in groups or teams with other members from opposite sides of the street.
  • Be supervised by an adult for every crew of 10 minors.
  • Be within sight or hearing from the supervisor’s adult at least every 15 minutes.
  • Return home or take to a place of rendezvous each day. 22

Are minors still required to go to school?

Yes, minors of 15 or under are required to be in school full-time if they do not graduate high school.

16and 17-year-olds that are employed but who are not high school graduates must continue to attend school for at least four hours per week. If they are not regularly employed, they must attend continuing school for at least 15 hours per week.

How many hours can a 15 year old work in California?

California’s child labor laws define the hour’s minors are allowed to be employed and the length of time. The rules vary based on the child’s age and whether schools are in session.

If school is not in session, Minors younger than 16 may work as much as 8 hours per week and up to 40 hours per workweek. 23 Minors between the ages of 16 and 17 may work as long as 8 hours per day and up to 48 hours per week. 24

If the school year is underway, the rules change significantly based on the student’s age.

1213 are only allowed to work during school holidays, on vacation, or on a school day. 25

Minors who are 14 or over cannot work during the time that the school year is still in session when they have completed the 7th year.

Anyone eligible to work and those who are between 14 and fifteen years old is eligible to be employed in the following ways:

  • Three hours per day during an academic day, in the absence of school hours.
  • Eight hours of non-school hours and
  • as much as up to. 27

In Addition

Minors who qualify for employment and who are between 16 and seventeen years old can be employed:

  • Four hours per day on an academic day
  • 8 hours on non-school days or any other day that falls on a non-school day and
  • Up to 48 hours every week. 28

The time of day used for working hours is also controlled under California law. Minors under 15 can only be employed

  • between 7 am and 7 pm, or,
  • between June 1 through Labor Day, between 7 am to 9 pm.

Minors between the ages of 16 and 17 may work from 5 am to 10 pm or, if the next day is not school, between 5 am and 12:30 am.

What happens to young workers in the entertainment sector?

Minors who are as young as 15 days old can work in the entertainment sector. 30 All minors require a permit to Work and Employ that can be issued by the Labour Commissioner in the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). 31

The entertainment industry is comprised of groups and individuals whose minors are employed to entertain the public, such as:

  • motion images,
  • theater,
  • television,
  • Musical shows,
  • photography,
  • recording,
  • modeling,
  • publicity,
  • rodeos and
  • circuses.32

Employers are also required to follow the rules on the length of time minors are allowed to be employed and when minors must be in school. 33

What are the penalties for employers who break the law?

Employers may face severe consequences for breaking California’s child labor laws. The same penalties will vary based on the particular violations. Sometimes, employers may be subject to legal charges for hiring minors.

There are two types of violations of California state laws that regulate child work:

  • Type A offences are punishable by civil sanctions in the range of between $5,000 and $10,000 per offense and
  • Type B offences carry civil penalties ranging from $500 to $1,000 per offence. 34

A few examples that are type A breaches are:

  • Employing a minor who is less than 16 years old in the manufacturing industry,
  • Employing children under the age of 15 to repair, service, or clean equipment,
  • permit a child under the age of 12 to be employed in an agricultural area of risk,
  • gas stations hire minors aged 16-17 to do car repairs using racks, pits, or a lifting device. 35

A few examples of type B violations are:

  • in the absence of a working permit for minors available to be reviewed at work
  • Employing minors in the entertainment business without a permit and
  • Any other child labor-related violation that the director of the Department of Industrial Relations determines to cause an immediate or direct negative impact on the minor’s health and safety or security. 36

The two Type A and Type B violations could be the basis for the possibility of criminal prosecution and a felony conviction. California’s law against child labor violations is considered a misdemeanor. The penalties can range from:

  • Six months in prison or
  • Fines of $10,000. 37

In Contrast

Individuals may be either criminally or civilly accountable for child labour-related violations if they use or permit the work of underage children.

Employers of minors could be held accountable for violations of California labour laws not related to the employee’s age, for example:

  • overtime,
  • the minimum wage and
  • breaks for rest and meals.

Can A 12 year old get a job in California?

State and federal occupational restrictions are in place to ensure that, in all instances, minors must be at a minimum of 14 years old before they can begin work. Anyone at least 12 years old can be granted authorization from school authorities (EC 49111), but a limited number of jobs are open to minors. (See chapters 6 and 7 in the digest). The exception is that an employer must first apply for an Employer Permit for minors in the entertainment sector prior to allowing a minor to work in this sector. In addition, the minor’s parent or legal guardian must obtain the Entertainment Work Permit before the minor is allowed to work in the entertainment industry. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement grants both permits.

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A minor who enrols in a Work Experience Education program must be granted a work permit, and their employer must be able to obtain an employment permit. It is required that the minor be 16 years old to enrol in the Work Experience Education program, with some exceptions that the Education Code specifies.

Where can 14 year olds work in California

Finding a job when you are 14 requires much searching for companies that will accept applications from candidates who are not yet 18 years old. While some states allow teenagers to work, some states do not permit employers to employ people who are younger than them. Some states, however, encourage young workers to leave and begin gaining valuable job experience.

Companies Hiring 14-Year-Olds

Are you aware of the kind of job you would like to have? At 14, keeping your choices open could help open new opportunities to enter the workforce. These fast-food eateries, grocery stores, retail shops, and entertainment venues might be interested in 14-year-olds who apply:

  • McDonald’s: Some McDonald’s establishments hire 14-year-old staff members. If you are younger than 16 and are interested in applying, you will need your parent or guardian’s permission and an official permit.
  • Safeway: Safeway supermarkets employ 14-year-olds to fill retail positions such as baggers, customer service associates, or store attendants.
  • Baskin-Robbins: Depending on the franchisee and location, the Ice cream chain may hire employees as young as 14.
  • Chick-Fil-A The fast-food chain does look into hiring responsible teenagers aged 14 as part of their staff.
  • Six Flags: Age requirements differ by the state and location within Six Flags, but some parks hire teenagers to manage concessions and help guests.
  • Burger King: Certain Burger King locations employ 14-year-olds as crew members for essential, non-hazardous duties in restaurants.
  • AMC Film Theaters Based on availability and their work allows, AMC hires young adults between 14 and 17 years old to serve the roles of ushers and cashiers.
  • Publix, The cashier and bagging positions, could be available to 14-year-olds who shop at this grocery chain in the southeast.


There are a handful of examples of jobs that employ 14-year-olds. Certain franchises might take applications from people younger than 16, but the state laws, along with local school district regulations. To determine the hiring criteria for a company that hires age 14, read the information on the job advertisement or call the manager who is hiring.

Where can 15 year olds work in California?


Who loves going to the movie theatre? AMC is another excellent place that hires at 14 and 15. The opportunities include selling tickets, concessions, and maintenance around the theatre. Contact your local AMC theatre and ask for the manager to see if your state and AMC hire at 14 and 15. If you have a local, independent theatre near you, they may also be willing to hire you, so be sure to ask (and see a movie!).

Baskin Robbins

Baskin Robbins might be a good fit if you love cake and ice cream. Look for the team member, ice cream scooper, and cake decorator positions.


With more than 2,000 stores across the US, Chick-fil-A may have an opportunity for you. Be sure to look for front-of-the-house (FOH) team member positions (cashier or drive-thru) since minors cannot use hot equipment, such as grills and deep fryers.

Community Centers

Local community centers and parks & recreation have excellent job opportunities for 14 and 15-year-olds. The positions include front desk support, after-school youth support, program coordinators, coaches, tutoring, lifeguards, and more. Check out your community center or your city’s website to find jobs for teens.

Dairy Queen

Whether you are a fan of ice cream or chicken strips, DQ is there for lunch, dessert, and maybe a job! With over 4,000 locations across the country, you can expect to work as a cashier, restaurant cleaner, or in food preparation.


Kroger owns 29 brand names of grocery stores in 42 states. They also offer jobs for teenagers under 16 years old, like cashier cart attendants, cart attendants or ordering drawers (for online grocery purchases), bakery assistants, and floral associates.

Local Amusement/Entertainment Venues

Are there any local carnivals, state fairs, or amusement parks in your area? Like a large amusement park like Six Flags, venues often employ teenagers for seasonal work. Also, make sure you take a look at bowling alleys and arcades!


If you are interested in becoming a staff member of McDonald’s, Some locations employ 14 years old. There are three crew members: the kitchen crew, the counter team, and maintenance. One of the benefits Mcdonald’s offers is its Archways to Opportunity Program, supporting employees who are enrolled in college (4-year community college, community college, or trade schools). Crew members have access to up to $2,500 annually for tuition. To be eligible for tuition, crew members must work for at least 90 days and at least 15 hours per week.


Publix is the biggest grocery shop in the US and is proud of its customer service. Specific locations hire between 14 and 15 years old for cashiers, front-service employees (bagging support), and cart attendants. Check out Publix’s site for online applications.


If you want to work at Safeway and Albertsons supermarkets, there are stores that hire 14-year-olds as cashiers, courtesy clerks, and cart attendants.

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Six Flags

If you happen to be located near a Six Flags amusement park in the eleven states they operate in, you could find yourself in a thrilling experience as a guest or an employee! Specific jobs, like working at a waterpark during the summer, could be seasonal.

Stop & Shop

It is an East Coast grocery chain with more than 400 stores hiring young people starting as young as 15. You will likely work in the grocery, floral department, or bakery.

Taco Bell

If you are confident working at a cash register or accepting orders from customers, you should consider joining Taco Bell. With over 77,000 places, Taco Bell may be an ideal place to start an initial job (they also offer a fantastic employee scholarship program that can assist you in paying for the cost of college).


Do you want to work where you work at your home? Think about making an application to U-Haul. They are the few companies that employ 14-year-olds for customer service positions. You should consider applying if you are comfortable speaking to customers via phone and providing excellent customer service skills.

Winn Dixie

If you reside in the southeast of the United States, you know this famous supermarket chain! If you reside within Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, or Louisiana, make sure you check at your local store to find out whether they employ 14 and 15-year-olds!

Giant Eagle

If you are a Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, or Maryland resident, make sure to contact your nearby Giant Eagle Grocery store for openings. The chain of grocery stores is another location to work for teens between 14 and 15 years old. They are hiring cashiers, clerks, attendants, and even check out.

Where can I get work permit besides school

Minors employed by California must have a permit to work. California needs a Permit to Work and Employ (commonly known as”work permit”) a “work permit”). Work permits are generally issued by the school in which the student is studying. Work permits specify the tasks and locations where the work is to be performed and the hours the minor is allowed to work. Most of the time, it is a two-step procedure, where the minor, the parent/guardian, and the employer fill out the B1-1 form and send it to the local school at the minor’s address. The school district then reviews the B1-1 forms and issues form B1-4 (Work Permit).

California Work Permit

California labor laws For 18-year-olds still in high school

The U.S. Department of Labor, which makes use of the Fair Labor Standards Act, is in charge of overseeing child labour laws on a federal level. However, because this law only applies to children under 18, an adult under federal law is anyone over 18—even if they are still in high school. States have different labour laws in this case.

National laws

18-year-olds are not subject to additional restrictions under federal labour laws, even if they are still in high school. When state and federal labour laws conflict, the Department of Labor asserts that the law requiring more excellent protection should be used. However, most businesses must adhere to the minimum requirements of both state and federal regulations. Businesses that conduct interstate commerce or generate annual revenue greater than $500,000 are subject to federal jurisdiction.

State Hours Limitations

Because they do not want to limit the rights of an 18-year-old high school graduate, GED recipient, or dropout, most states write the law to only apply to minors between the ages of 14 and 17. However, there are limitations based on the school in some state laws. When 18-year-olds are subject to work restrictions, they most frequently take the form of work hour limitations to accommodate school and homework during the week.

However, there are different labour laws that 18-year-olds must abide by. For instance, until a worker turns 19 in Florida, employers must maintain records of youth employees’ age and employment status.


Some states and even particular industries permit minors and students to obtain waivers from some labor laws if they believe it is in their best interests. Depending on the state, either the parent, a state official or a school official signs these waivers. You can find a state-by-state list at the Department of Labor (see Resources). An 18-year-old may choose to work full-time in the majority of states.

There are some exceptions to the general rule that 18-year-olds can work the same hours and be paid the same as adults. A person must be at least 19 years old to serve alcohol, for instance, in Alaska.

Lastly, visit the Moden News homepage and also check out our Jobs in USA category, for more essential information.

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