Many fast food restaurants in California hire workers as young as 15 years old. These include McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s. Movie theaters are another popular place that hires minors. Some grocery stores also hire teens to work at their locations. However, before you can begin working, you will need a work permit, which is often referred to as a Permit to Employ and Work. You will need to request one from your local school district office. The request can be approved by officials in the office or by the district superintendent (which during summer would be the school superintendent). The permit will outline the hours you are allowed to work and enumerate certain jobs that are not permitted.
You must follow state laws on minimum wage and overtime pay for minors as well as child labor restrictions. In general, you are allowed to work up to 18 hours a week when school is in session. This is reduced to eight hours a day from June 1st through Labor Day. You can also work up to 48 hours during non-school weeks.
Teenagers may not perform work that the federal Fair Labor Standards Act deems hazardous, such as operating power-driven machinery. In addition, they cannot work before 7 AM or after 9 PM when school is in session.
There are also special programs that allow teenagers to gain work experience and skills through paid job training and placement. You can find more information about these opportunities through the Youth@Work website. These opportunities are targeted at high-risk youth and may provide work experience to minors who are a school dropout, living in foster care or on probation, low-income, LGBTQ, an ex-offender, pregnant or parenting or have a disability.