To protect children from child labor, the state sets strict requirements for the hours and times they can work. They also set minimum ages.
According to the State of California Department of Industrial Relations, the minimum age at which a minor may begin working in most professions is 12 years old. However, since there are many entertainment jobs in California, children under the age of 12 can work with tight restrictions.
Under age 12
The state mandates full-time school attendance for school-age children while working. It limits the maximum number of hours a child of this age may work to eight hours per day and 40 hours per week. You may work them from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. during the school year and until 9:00 p.m. during the summer.
Ages 12 and 13
You can employ children ages 12 and 13 for eight hours per day up to 40 hours per week when school is not in session. During the school year, they may only work on days off of school. They can work the same hours as children under the age of 12.
Ages 14 and 15
Children ages 14 and 15 also can work the standard of eight hours per day up to 40 hours per week. They have the same hours as the younger children. You can work them for three hours on school days, and up to eight hours on any day they do not have school. Students in the WEE program can work up to 23 hours per week during the school day.
Ages 16 and 17
Older children can work up to four hours a school day and eight hours on days when they do not have school. WEE students can work up to eight hours on a school day. You can work these minors up to 48 hours a week. You may schedule them from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on days prior to a school day. For days not before a school day, they can work until 12:30 a.m. For those in the WEE program, you can work them until 12:30 a.m. any day.