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Employment Law: Is there a Minimum Working Age in CA?

Posted on in Employment

San Jose employment law attorney, working age laws, California employment law, minimum working age, employment regulationsNow that summer is in full swing you may be noticing that the average age of your baristas, ice cream scoopers, cashiers, etc. is significantly younger than it was during the winter months. Teenagers taking summer jobs is a common occurrence in California.

However, if you are an employer, it is important to know that there is a minimum working age in effect in California. So before you hire that last teenage summer employee be sure to brush up on the minimum working age laws outlined below to ensure you are in compliance with the law.

California’s Key Minimum Age for Employment Regulations

Under state law, the minimum age to work in California is 14, in most cases. However, California’s Department of Industrial Relations’ website notes that our state’s minimum age for employment varies slightly depending on the nature of the employment opportunity. For instance, consider the following key minimum age for employment regulations that are currently in place in California:

  • 18 is the minimum age that a minor may:

    • Be employed in a hazardous occupation, or

    • Serve alcoholic beverages.

  • 16 is the minimum age that a minor may:

    • Be employed in California unless minors under that age are expressly permitted by law to work,

    • Be accepted into an approved apprenticeship training program, or

    • Be employed during the school year and during school hours (with the exception of 14 and 15 year olds enrolled in Work Experience Education Programs).

  • 14 is the minimum age that a minor may:

    • Be employed during the school year (but only outside of school hours), or

    • Be enrolled in a Work Experience Education Program.

  • 12 is the minimum age that a minor may:

    • Be employed as a personal attendant or in a household occupation (if issued a Permit to Work), or

    • Sell or distribute newspapers, magazines, periodicals, or circulars.

Additionally, minors who are less than 12 years old can be employed in California in some limited capacities. For example, kids under 12 are allowed to perform irregular odd household jobs (for example, they can legally work as a babysitter). Additionally, minors who are at least 15 days old may be employed in the entertainment industry as long as the appropriate permits to do so are first issued by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

Federal Age Restrictions

It is important to note that federal law also contains provisions that establish minimum employment ages that are applicable across the United States. These federal laws are mostly in keeping with California’s minimum age to work laws (for instance, the minimum age for employment under federal law is also 14 in most cases), but keep in mind that where a conflict does exist between state and federal law the most restrictive law will generally govern.

Contact Us for Legal Help Today

If you are a California employer or employee who has found yourself in need of a passionate San Jose employment law attorney, Jachimowicz Law Group is here to help. Our team of experienced employment law attorneys represent clients in a wide variety of employment law matters throughout Northern California and would be happy to assist you. To discuss your legal options during a free initial consultation, contact our San Jose office today.









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