Home » Career Resources » Jobs For Teens » Can a 16 Year Old Work Without a Permit?

Can a 16 Year Old Work Without a Permit?

can a 16 year old work without a permit

Are you looking for a way to make money in your spare time?

Taking on a part-time job is a good way to make some cash and learn new skills. Once you reach the age of 16, there are no major restrictions on the types of jobs you can do.

However, before you start a part-time job, you need to check if you need a work permit. This official document is needed to do most commercial jobs and has to be signed by your parent or guardian.

So, let’s take an in-depth look at ‘can a 16 year old work without a permit?’.

can a 16 year old work without a permit

What Is A Work Permit?

A work permit is also known as an employment certificate or a proof-of-age certificate. It is an official document that needs to be completed and filed. This document is issued to give people under the age of eighteen permission to work.

The work permit protects your future employer from being prosecuted for hiring someone underage. The employer has to sign the work permit and keep a copy of it in the place you will be working. If the employer is not able to show the work permit when asked by an official, they can get a fine.

can 16 year old work without a permit

Do You Need A Work Permit?

This depends on the type of work you want to do and the state you live in. Although the federal government does not require a work permit, several states set this condition. In some states, only people aged fourteen or fifteen need a work permit.

In other states, anyone under the age of eighteen needs a work permit before they start work. You need to check out the rules and regulations in your state before applying for work.

How to Get a Work Permit?

You can usually get a work permit from the guidance counselor at your school. The guidance counselor will check your grades and make sure you are not behind. Some states also require you to pass a physical exam before a work permit is issued.

If you are homeschooled, you can find and complete the work permit form online. Visit the official website of your state and make sure you meet the requirements. You will still need to get a licensed educator to sign the work permit before you start work.

The Hours You Can Work

Even when you do have a work permit, there are still limits on the times and amount of hours you can work. You cannot spend more than a combined twelve hours working and at school on any day. Here are some of the other rules that outline when you are allowed to work.

When School is in Session

You can work a maximum of four hours on a school day. On a non-school day, you are allowed to work a maximum of eight hours a day. The maximum total hours you can work each week is around 28. The earliest you can start work is 5:00 am, and you have to finish your shift before 10:00 pm.

During the Summer Break

This period runs from June 15th until Labor Day, and you are allowed to work a maximum of eight hours a day and forty hours per week. The earliest you can start work is 5:00 am, and you have to finish your shift at 12:30 am.

can the 16 year old work without the permit

Other Rules

You need to have a break of at least eight hours between ending your shift and starting the next one. If you are still in school, your shift must end at least eight hours before school starts. After working for five hours, you need to take a break of at least thirty minutes.

All of the rules and restrictions are printed on your work permit. You also need to apply for a new work permit every year. The date when your work permit is issued and when it expires will also be printed on it.

Jobs You Can Do Without A Work Permit

While you need a work permit for most jobs, there are several jobs you can do without a work permit. This includes running your own business and working for friends and relatives. However, it is still best to stick to the recommending hour restrictions and keep up with your studies.

Working at the Family Business

If your family owns a restaurant or another type of business, you can work there in your spare time. There are few restrictions on the types of jobs you are allowed to do in the family business. However, you cannot handle alcohol, operate machinery, or do any task that requires a license.

Agricultural Industry Jobs

Working on a farm is a great way to make a little money and get fit at the same time. Typical jobs include feeding animals and cleaning out their enclosures and helping with the harvest. However, you are not allowed to drive a tractor or operate any other machinery.

can 16 year old work without the permit

Newspaper Delivery Jobs

Anyone over the age of twelve can take on a paper route. You need to be prepared to get up very early to do this job, especially on school days.

House and Yard Work

You can make a little extra cash by raking leaves, mowing lawns, and weeding flower beds. You can also do light housework like dusting, vacuuming, ironing, and making beds. Similar jobs that don’t need a work permit include babysitting and pet sitting.


You can set up and run your own business within certain restrictions. This includes making things to sell and offering certain services. However, you cannot employ anyone else to help you with your work. In some states, you may have to declare the work you are doing and pay taxes on your earnings.

Creating Your Very First Resume?

It’s never too early to start on your resume! So let’s begin with my CV advice such as How To List References On A Resume, the Most Important Skills To Put On A Resume, Job Titles On Resume, How To List Education On A Resume, or how about the Achievements To List On Your Resume, or Motivation Letter Writing Guide, Hobbies Interests To Put On Resume, and finally How To Address A Cover Letter to help guide you.

In our modern-day and age, having a great online profile is crucial. So, check out Best Linkedin Profile Tips and Best Linkedin Recommendation Examples.

Secondly, your resume should always be impeccable and up to date. So, take a look at my advice on How To Write A Letter of Interest, Job Titles On Resume, Achievements To List On Your Resume, and what Hobbies Interests To Put On Resume in 2023.

If you’re still feeling lost, then try reading How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile… And 18 Mistakes to Avoid, Ignite Your LinkedIn Profile, LinkedIn Profile Optimization For Dummies, and LinkedIn For Dummies available online.

For further information on resume writing, we found these outstanding online guides! So, take a look at CVs, Resumes, and LinkedIn: A Guide to Professional English, or the Optimize Your Resume: DOs and DON’Ts the SamNova Way, and the Marketing Yourself in the Age of Digital: CVs, Applications, Interviews, Social Media, LinkedIn, How to Write an Amazing IT Resume, as well as the English for Academic CVs, Resumes, and Online Profiles, and Land Your Dream Job: Join the 2% Who Make it Past Resumé Screening.

Lastly, we also have the Resume Formats book, Resume Writing: 10 Ridiculously Simple Tips, and of course, the Resume Format Guide, also available online today.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of advantages to taking on part-time work while you are still in school. In addition to money in your pocket, you will gain special skills and experience.

Having work experience will make it easier to land your dream job when you graduate. Before starting work, make sure you read through your contract carefully. It should be clear what you are expected to do, your shifts, and when you will get paid.

If you have any questions, make sure you raise them with the employer before signing the contract and starting work.

All the very best applying for your Work Permit!

4.7/5 - (70 votes)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top