I'm 14 and would really like to get a job after school so I don't have to always ask my mom for money for everything. Am I old enough to work in California?
The minimum age for working in California is 12, except in the entertainment industry, where you can work from birth. But working teen-agers are strictly regulated by the state, which wants to make sure that work doesn't interfere with school. With the exception of those seeking entertainment industry jobs, you'll need a work permit for any job you want. These permits are issued through your school and require the signature of your parent or guardian.
In order to obtain a job, you'll also need a Social Security number.
When school is in session, 12- and 13-year-olds are not allowed to work on school days. When school is not in session, they can work up to eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. They are only permitted to work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., or to 9 p.m. during the summer months.
Those who are 14 or 15 may work eight hours a day up to 40 hours a week, but not during school hours, except in a school-supervised or school-administered work program. They also can't work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. except in the summer when they may be employed until 9 p.m.
Those who are 16 or 17 are allowed to work up to four hours on a school day, eight hours on a non-school day and up to 48 hours a week. Work may not begin before 5 a.m. or continue past 10 p.m. on any day preceding a school day.
There is an exemption from these time requirements for any minor who is employed delivering newspapers to consumers.
There are no restrictions on jobs you get working in private homes: baby-sitting, lawn mowing, raking leaves, etc.
\o7 What Now? gets you reliable information from the experts about the law, money, schools, health and anything else you need explained. If you have a question about your rights, how to deal with authorities, or just need the facts, write to What Now?, L.A. Times, 1333 Mayflower Ave., Monrovia 91016. Your identity will be kept confidential.