Working Papers: Getting You Closer to the Paycheck

Why Do I Need Working Papers?

Working papers serve as your official employment certificate. Working papers were established to make sure businesses do not work you too many hours while you are in school and in the summer as well.

How Old Do I Have to Be to Get Working Papers?

You will need working papers if you are under 18 years old. Working papers are divided into two age groups (14-15 and 16-17):

  •  14-15 year olds - Your working papers are blue. If you are 14 and 15 years old, you are issued these working papers because you are not allowed to work in a factory.
  • 16-17 year olds (in school) - Your working papers are green. The difference between 14-15 year old working papers and 16-17 year old working papers is that you are allowed to work in a factory. You cannot work around certain machines, do construction work, help on a motor vehicle, clean, oil, wipe, or adjust belts on machinery.
  • 16-17 year olds (out of school) - Your working papers are peach. If you are 16 to 17 years old and are not in school or are leaving school for full time employment, you will need these working papers. You are allowed to work in a factory, cannot work around certain machines, do construction work, help on a motor vehicle, or clean, oil, wipe, or adjust belts on machinery.

Where Do I Get My Working Papers and What Do I Need to Get Them?

You will have to take the steps described below to get your working papers:

  • If you are in school, visit your middle school or high school health office and ask for a working papers application. If you are not in school, go to the nearest middle school or high school because they are required to give you the application. (You also can download a copy of the application by clicking this link).
  • Fill out the application and have your parent or guardian sign the application.
  • When you have filled out the working papers application and had your parent or guardian sign it, you have to take it back to your middle school or high school's health office.
  • Obtain proof of age, such as your birth certificate, a state-issued photo ID, driver's license, or passport.
  • You will also need to have had a doctor's exam within the last 12 months saying you are physically fit. A physical given at a school for sports will count for your physical exam. If you are not sure where you can get a physical, ask your guidance office or call your doctor.

Working Papers Tips

Below is helpful information once you have your working papers and are on the job:

  • When you turn 16, you will need to go from your 14-15 year old working papers (blue) and get your 16-17 year old working papers (green). Go to your middle school or high school health office to update your working papers.
  • Before you start work at a new job, you must give your employer the blue, green or peach employment certificate. Employers are not allowed to accept photocopies of your working papers. If you lose your working papers, you will have to go back to the school and ask for a duplicate (copy) to be issued to you.
  •  At the end of a job, the employer must give your working papers back to you. You can use them on your next job (if you are still the right age for the certificate). If the employer does not return your working papers, you can ask the school to issue you a duplicate (copy).

What Hours Can I Work?

You are ready to work, but not sure what hours you can work. Below is some information with the number of hours you can work based on your age and whether you are in or out of school.

When You Are in School
Age      Maximum Allowed
     
 14-15         

Maximum Daily Work Hours:

  • 3 hours on school days
  • 8 hours on non-school days (most likely Saturday and Sunday)

Maximum Weekly Work Hours:

  • 18 hours

Maximum Number of Days Worked Per Week:

  • 6 days

Work Times:

  • 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
 
 16-17

Maximum Daily Work Hours:

  • 4 hours on Monday - Thursday
  • 8 hours on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Holidays

Maximum Weekly Work Hours:

  • 28 hours

Maximum Number of Days Worked Per Week:

  • 6 days

Work Times:

  • 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  When School is Not in Session
 14-15

Maximum Daily Work Hours:

  • 8 hours

Maximum Weekly Work Hours:

  • 40 hours

Maximum Number of Days Worked Per Week:

  • 6 days

Work Times:

  • 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (June 21 to Labor Day)
 
 16-17

Maximum Daily Work Hours:

  • 8 hours

Maximum Weekly Work Hours:

  • 48 hours

Maximum Number of Days Worked Per Week:

  • 6 days

Work Times:

  • 6 a.m. to midnight
  When You Are Not Attending Schools
 16-17

Maximum Daily Work Hours:

  • 8 hours

Maximum Weekly Work Hours:

  • 48 hours

Maximum Number of Days Worked Per Week:

  • 6 days

Work Times:

  • 6 a.m. to midnight