If your teenager wants to work, they need to apply for “Working Papers” from their high school to present to their employer. “Working Papers” is the common name for an official document called “Certificate of Age Form” (also known as “Form # ED 301”). This document is required by law for your teenager to be able to work. Child labor law protections are based on the age of the worker. So, official verification of their age and potential occupation is required before a teenager can be employed in any given job.
This is probably a big change from when you held your own teenage jobs. We pretty much were able to show up and work, particularly on jobs for smaller employers. Those of us that worked for large businesses may have provided copies of our birth certificate. Now, as with most everything, the process for teenage employment is more structured.
The law requires your teen to obtain documentation that proves their age and also shows that their chosen job is permissible given their age. The idea behind the Working Papers is that both sides are protected. The teenager is protected against potentially harmful or hazardous work. The employer is protected against hiring an underage worker on falsified documents.
For example, every 16 year old and 17 year old worker who wants to work in a nonhazardous job (such as for a restaurant or food service provider, mercantile establishment, or recreational and amusement provider) must obtain Working Papers.
Also, any 15 year old worker who wants to work for a mercantile establishment in a nonhazardous job (like cashier for a retail grocery store) must also obtain Working Papers.
Finally, any 14 year old worker who wants to golf caddie job at either public or private golf courses is required to get Working Papers.
How to Obtain Working Papers
It is a relatively easy process to get Working Papers. The Working Papers are obtained directly from your teenager’s high school. The high school administrators will perform the necessary verification process for the document.
To obtain Working Papers, your teenager must provide the following:
- Official Documentation of their Age (birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, etc.)
- Social Security Card
- Written Promise of Employment (obtained from the employer)
The Written Promise of Employment needs to be very specific about the job title, and the work duties to be performed. It needs to be on the employer’s official letterhead, and it must be signed by an authorized representative of the employer. The Written Promise of Employment also needs to specify the pay rate and the number of hours to be worked per week. General statements about the type of work to be performed are not acceptable. The employer must detail the exact duties required for the job. This process ensures that the job does not involve hazardous activities or any of the prohibited job tasks for minors.
Issuing Working Papers
The high school administrators will confirm your teenager’s age documentation, and then they will review the employer’s Written Promise of Employment to verify that the job, industry, time, and hours are all permitted under Connecticut’s Department of Labor’s standards for employment for workers under 18 years of age. Assuming everything is proper under the law, the high school administrators will then issue the Working Papers.
Your teenager will then need to provide the Working Papers to their employer. If your teen has more than one employer (hard worker!) they will need to provide a separate original set to each employer.
Still Have Questions?
Teenage jobs are rewarding, and they can teach several life lessons to your teenager. Teenage jobs also raise several legal issues for discussion depending upon your child’s age and the type of job they want. If you have any additional questions or need legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am here to help!