California Labor Code Restrictions

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California Labor Code Restrictions

The most common and important restrictions for workers under age 18:

In California no worker under 18 may:

  • Drive a motor vehicle on public streets as part of the job, or work as an outside helper on a motor vehicle.
  • Operate power-driven machinery, including meat slicers, box crushers, forklifts, and circular saws.
  • Handle, serve, or sell alcoholic beverages.
  • Work in wrecking, demolition, or roofing.

Also, no one under 16 may:

  • Work in building or construction.
  • Work in manufacturing or food processing.
  • Do baking or cooking on the job (except at a serving counter).
  • Work on a ladder or scaffold.
  • Load or unload trucks.
  • Dispense gas or oil.
  • Clean, wash, or polish cars.

Work Hours: Ages 14 and 15

  • 7 am–7 pm, from Labor Day–June 1st
  • Not during school hours
  • 7 am–9 pm, from June 1st–Labor Day

Maximum Hours When School Is in Session: 18 hours a week, but not over:

  • 3 hours a day on school days
  • 8 hours a day Saturday–Sunday and holidays

Maximum Hours When School is not in Session

  • 40 hours a week
  • 8 hours a day

Work Hours: Ages 16 and 17

  • 5 am–10 pm when there is school the next day
  • 5 am–12:30 am when there is no school the next day

Maximum Hours When School Is in Session: 48 hours a week, but not over:

  • 4 hours a day Monday–Thursday
  • 8 hours a day Friday–Sunday and holidays

Maximum Hours When School is not in Session

  • 48 hours a week
  • 8 hours a day

Work Permits

With certain exceptions, youth under 18 who take a job must have a work permit issued by their school district. Applications are available from school sites or from main district offices.

* Note: This list is not complete, but covers the most common and important restrictions. For more information, see the full Child Labor Laws.

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