Westport Community Schools

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Students » Work Permits for Youths Aged 14 through 17

Work Permits for Youths Aged 14 through 17

Employment Permit Application for 14 through 17 Year-Olds

Instructions: After completing the form and obtaining the required signatures as indicated, take this completed form to the Superintendent of Schools, or the person your school (including a charter school) has authorized to issue work permits, in the school district where you live or attend school. You should bring with you proof of your age, such as your birth certificate, passport, or immigration record. The Superintendent, or the person your school (including a charter school) has authorized to issue work permits, will then issue you an Employment Permit. Bring the signed work permit back to your employer who must keep it until you leave the job. Questions about this application should be directed to the Department of Labor Standards at (617) 626-6952.
If you are under 18 years of age, you must obtain a work permit before starting a new job.1 G.L. c. 149, §§86-89.
The following are the steps you should take; please note that a Physicians Certificate of Health is required only of 14 and 15 year-olds.
Steps for Getting an Employment Permit
  1. 1. Obtain a job offer from an employer.
  2. Ask the employer to complete the "Promise of Employment Section". 
  3. For 14 and 15 year-olds only (16 and 17 year-olds may skip this step): Ask your doctor to complete the "Physician’s Certificate of Health" section. Note: The Certificate of Health must be signed within 12 months of the date this application is presented to the school official issuing the permit.
  4. Have your parents or guardians sign the following section.
  5. The youth seeking the permit must sign. 

Applying for an Employment Permit

With very limited exceptions, minors under the age of 14 may not be employed. All minors under the age of 18 must complete an employment permit application and obtain the permit before starting a new job. Applications for employment permits are available for download on the website for the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development's Department of Labor Standards . You may also access these forms (in multiple languages) from the right hand column.

For minors who are residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, permits are issued by the superintendent of schools for the municipality in which the minor lives or attends school - either is acceptable. If the minor resides outside the Commonwealth, the permit is issued by the superintendent for the municipality where the minor's job will be located.

A minor cannot be granted a permit unless the specific employer, work address, and job description have been provided.

Employer Responsibility

The employer must keep the original permit on file at the place of employment as long as the minor is employed at that location or until the minor reaches the age of 18.

If the minor's employment is terminated, voluntarily or otherwise, the employer must return the permit to the superintendent's office within two days of the termination. If and when the employer returns the permit, there is not a law that specifies any requirements for maintaining permits. Typically, most schools keep them on file until the minor turns 18.

Permits are valid as long as the minor holds the job or until he or she reaches the age of 18. At that time, the minor no longer needs documentation and the permit and copies may be destroyed.

Minors who are no longer students are covered by the child labor laws in the same way that students of the same age are covered.

Transferring Permits

Minors cannot transfer a permit given for one job to another job. The process must begin again, even if the employer is the same but the work location has changed. An employer who wishes to employ a minor at more than one location must keep a permit on file at each business location.

However, a minor does not have to apply for a new employment permit at the beginning of the school year if they have the same job.