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How to Get a Work Permit in Pennsylvania?

The world is slowly adapting and making positive changes in business practice. This includes the options children have when it comes to entering the workforce. Pennsylvania leads the way on ethical child labor.

The Child Labor Act was finalized in 2012 and brought into effect in 2013. This is to ensure that children can enjoy a childhood, make some extra cash without the burden of having to sacrifice their education or be forced to grow up too soon.

So, if you’re excited to start your first job, take a look at How to Get a Work Permit in Pennsylvania and what you will need to do.

how to get a work permit in pennsylvania

Work Permit Restrictions In Pennsylvania

Many parents would argue that a part-time job will help teach a child responsibility. Some children also enjoy earning their own money to spend. Or they would like to pad their resumes for a leg-up after school or to get into college. Some cultures require children to participate in lots of chores as part of their upbringing.

Those in charge of passing new laws recognized the need for “light” labor that can be wholesome and good for children. However, it is strictly controlled with the use of permits. These permits will allow children and teenagers to work under some circumstances.

So, let’s take a look at what you can do, at what age, and how to get your permit in Pennsylvania.

how to get work permit in pennsylvania

Jobs For Minors Where A Work Permit Is Not Needed

From age 11 – Newspaper delivery

  • The only job you will be allowed to do from the age of eleven is newspaper delivery.
  • You will only be allowed to start work after 05:00 am, and you have to finish before 08:00 pm; however, during school vacations, you may continue until 09:00 pm.
  • You may work seven days per week.
  • Any minor that can demonstrate that they are working independently of the newspaper publisher will not need a work permit.
  • Once you reach the age of 16, you may work with the newspaper publisher, but with no need for a work permit.

how to get work permit in the pennsylvania

From age 12 – Golf caddy/Youth sports official

  • You may work as a golf caddy but only carry one golf bag at a time and for no more than 18 holes in a day.
  • As a youth sports official, your work limitations will be the same as for those aged 14-15 (next section discussed), but you will not need a work permit.

Jobs For Teens Where A Work Permit Is Needed

Teens aged 14-15 – Non-hazardous jobs

  • A work permit is needed.
  • You may only be employed for non-hazardous jobs; hazardous jobs are declared as such by the United States Secretary of Labor.
  • The only job that will fall outside of these rules is newspaper delivery (see section above).
  • You may not start work before 7:00 am or continue work after 7:00 pm. You may continue work until 9:00 pm, during school breaks.
  • The department of labor may grant special permission to work until 10:00 pm.
  • Working hours may not exceed three hours on school days; eight hours on days when you do not have school; 18 hours per week during a school week, 40 hours per week when you are on school holiday. If you are enrolled in summer school, the 18 hour-limit will apply.
  • You must have an uninterrupted break of at least 30 minutes for every five hours of work.
  • You will not be allowed to work for more than six consecutive days.
  • If your employment is recognized as part of a school-work program, your working hours combined with hours spent in school may not exceed eight hours per day.

how to get the work permit in pennsylvania

Teens aged 16-17

  • The only job that will fall outside of these rules is newspaper delivery.
  • You may not start before 06:00 am or continue after noon when school is in session. However, during school holidays, you may continue work until 01:00 am.
  • You are limited to 28 hours of labor during a school week and 48 hours when you are on break. However, after 44 hours, the extra four hours is strictly voluntary, and you are entitled to decline any requests for more than 44 hours in a single week without fear of getting fired.
  • Working hours may not exceed eight hours per day during a school week and ten hours per day when on a school break.
  • If you are enrolled in summer school, rules for a school week will apply.
  • You are entitled to an uninterrupted break of at least 30 minutes for every five hours of work.
  • If you are employed as a counselor, counselor-in-training, or junior counselor at a summer camp, you will only be allowed to work six days per week. This does not apply to any other positions at the camp.

Minors In Performance Roles

Performance roles refer to the following: live performances, radio, television, film, internet. As well as any other form of publication where you or are paid for your participation.

  • Your rehearsal time will count towards your working hours.
  • If you participate in a documentary, and your participation is substantial enough, you may be entitled to no less than $2,500. Please refer to the child labor act: Section 5 for more information.
  • You will need a permit for any performance roles. An entertainment permit will be valid for a maximum of six months.
  • Your performances may not involve an act of sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of minors.
  • You will only be allowed to box, spar, or wrestle in school or amateur competitions, or a noncontact portrayal.
  • Hazardous activities and stunts or any performance as defined as hazardous by the labor department are not permitted.
  • If you are needed to perform for one day only, the labor department may exempt you from needing a permit.

For more info on working hours, rights to education and guardianship, and the Child Performer Trust Account, refer to the child employment act.

How To Get A Work Permit In Pennsylvania?

  • You can get the necessary forms directly from the department of labor or download them from their website.
  • Your parent or guardian has to sign the application and must accompany you when submitting it.
  • If they are unable to do this, a notarized statement can be attached to your application.
  • If you have graduated from high school and have proof of this, you will not need your parent or guardian’s permission.
  • You will also need to provide proof of your age, such as your birth certificate, a record of baptism that shows your date of birth, a passport, or a certified school document.
  • A doctor, doctor’s assistant, or a nurse approved by the board of school directors will have to supply a signed statement that they have examined you and that you are fit to perform the duty you are getting the work permit for.

Need More Info On Teen Work Permits?

Our website boasts numerous in-depth articles on states you could work in, such as our How to Get a Work Permit in Illinois, How to Get a Work Permit in Maryland, or what about How to Get a Work Permit in New York, and How to Get a Work Permit in California, as well as How to Get a Work Permit in Arizona.

Next, why not take a look at my Jobs For 11-Year-Olds, or Jobs For 12-Year-Olds, Jobs For 13-Year-Olds, and Jobs For 14-Year-Olds, and as you get older my Jobs For 15 Year Olds, Jobs For 16 Year Olds, and finally Jobs For 17 Year Olds to get some awesome ideas on how to make extra cash!

Lastly, we have a few guides on working as a tween or teen, such as I Can Earn It: The Make Money How To for Teens and Tweens, and Money Athletics: Your Game Plan to a Financially Fit Tween, or even A Self-Guided Workbook for Highly Effective Teens: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens (For Teens and Tweens) all available online in 2022.

Final Thoughts

Are you unsure whether or not your position will require a permit? Then it is best to check in with your school or the labor department for a list.

It may seem like a hassle to get them, but they are ultimately there to protect you. Perhaps from burnout or being exploited. Don’t feel any pressure from employers to perform duties outside of the child labor act. If this happens, you should not hesitate to report them.

Good luck in getting your Pennsylvania Work Permit and working your first job!

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About Carmen Smith

Carmen grew up in San Diago but now lives in Boston. She loves traveling, experiencing other cultures, and basically exploring the world, be country at a time.

Her other passion is helping people find the perfect career. We spend 33% of our working lives at work, so it's ridiculous that many people do jobs that they do not enjoy. Carmen wants to change this and thinks that anyone who isn't happy in their employment should keep looking until they find something that they really enjoy. 

She firmly believes that "Everyone's perfect job is out there; it's just a case of continually looking until you find it."

Carmen lives with her husband Johnny, a keen birder who also loves to travel. He finds birds while Carmen makes plans for where they will be eating next...

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