The Inside Scoop - Teen Work Permits

Work Rules - Under 14 Years of Age

If you are under 14 years-old then you are restricted to the type of work you can do legally and you may not legally be able to obtain a work permit.

So What Can I Do?

If you are a model, entertainer or performer you can get a special work permits in some states, but you will not be able to get this type of permit from your school. You will need to contact the local labor office for this type of permit. Your parents and school will be able to help you with this - so just ask them.

Since most of you are not entertainers or performers you can look into other kinds of work that do not require work permits.

For example, in the state of Maryland certain activities are not considered employment for the purposes of the law - provided the activity does not involve mining, manufacturing or hazardous occupations and it takes place outside the school day. These activities include: Farm work performed on a farm; domestic work performed in or about a home; work performed in a business owned or operated by a parent; work performed by unpaid volunteers, in a charitable or non-profit organization, employed with the written consent of the parent; caddying on a golf course; an instructor on an instructional sailboat; delivery of newspapers; work performed as a counselor, assistant counselor or instructor in a youth camp certified under the Maryland Youth Camp Act. Remember these are for Maryland and your own state will most likely have different regulations.

So, even though you might not be able to work in a hotel, restaurant or retail stores yet you still can find some ways to earn some money or get great work experience during the summer. If you have questions about what kind of work you can do in your own state without a work permit consult your school guidance counselor. They should have all the answers.

Did You Know - By Law Employers Must Provide:

  • A safe and healthful workplace.
  • Safety and health training, in many situations, including providing information about chemicals that could be harmful to your health.
  • For many jobs, payment for medical care if you get hurt or sick because of your job. You may also be entitled to lost wages.
  • At least the minimum wage of $5.15/hour to most teens, after their first 90 days on the job. Many States have a higher minimum wage than the Federal wage. Lower wages may be allowed when workers receive tips from customers, provided that the tip plus the wage is equal to minimum wage. (Call your State Department of Labor listed in this guide for information on minimum wage in your State or visit

This information was reproduced with permission from the CDC Promoting Safe Work for Young Workers Site at