So you want to help out an ambitious kid that really wants to make a few dollars over the holidays by giving him or her a job? In general, it is possible to put children 12 years of age and older to work in California, provided you observe certain guidelines as outlined below. Be aware, however, that different rules apply for different ages. In addition, there are also numerous industry-specific requirements and restrictions.
School Attendance: The child is required to attend school unless he or she is a high school graduate or has a certificate of proficiency.
Permits to Work and to Employ: A work permit is required unless the minor is a high school graduate or equivalent. Permits may be more restrictive than minimum statutory standards. Note that under federal law, a certificate of age is required, but a California state work permit will suffice for this purpose.
Hours of Work: Minors are only permitted to work up to 8 hours on non-schooldays. Children 14 years of age or older may be able to work a limited number of hours on schooldays. In addition there are weekly caps on the total number of hours that can be worked, depending on the age of the child.
Spread of Hours: Minors can generally work in the daylight hours, but the range of possible work hours is greater with older minors. Minors 16 or 17 years of age can work in the 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. range (and as late as 12:30 a.m. on days preceding a non-schoolday). There are also exceptions for minors enrolled in work experience education programs. High school graduates may be generally be employed for the same hours as an adult.
Wages: Minors must be paid at least the minimum wage established by the Industrial Welfare Commission (currently $8 per hour), plus any applicable overtime pay. Exceptions: Employer parents and personal attendants (which includes babysitting and companionship services) are typically exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements. Work experience education enrollees must be paid at least the adult minimum wage for any work performed between 10 p.m. & 12:30 a.m. High school graduates must be paid a rate of pay commensurate with adults.