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Work Permit Information
HOW TO GET WORKING PAPERS
Once you have the promise of a job, follow these steps to receive working papers:
1. Obtain an "Application for Employment Certificate or Transferable Work Permit" from one of the working papers offices or from the guidance office in your school. Or, download the form here.
2. Have your prospective employer fill out Part "C".
3. Have your physician complete Part "D" verifying that you have had a physical.
- Physicals are offered at each working papers location for students who cannot have their own doctor complete Part "D". However, the number of physicals that can be completed each evening is extremely limited. These physicals are offered on a first-come first-served basis. Also, if you wear glasses, you must have them with you for the physical exam.
4. Bring the completed application to one of the six working papers offices along with proof of age.
5. Applicant must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- Acceptable documents include birth certificate, baptismal certificate, passport, driver’s license, or school ID as long as the form of identification lists the date of birth.
6. Bring your materials to one of the six working papers offices during the hours of operation listed above.
- If your parent or guardian is unable to attend, they may instead sign the application in the presence of a notary public and have the application notarized.
- The applicant must be present for issuance of working papers.
- If the student has yellow Employment Certificate Card and secures a new job, he/she must have a new application completed by the new employer. He/she simply brings the application with the Employment Certificate to the working papers office from which they originally received working papers. So, if the student was originally certified at Ben Franklin High School, he/she need only return to Ben Franklin with the new application (completed by the new employer) to renew his/her certification.
- If the student lost his/her employment certificate, he/she can return to the school where they were originally certified and receive a reissued certificate.
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT WORKING PAPERS
Do I really need a job before I get working papers? A lot of employers say that they can't hire me until I have working papers.
How old do you have to be to begin working?
Yes, you need a job before you can obtain working papers. You should obtain an application for working papers and bring it with you when you are looking for work. If an employer tells you that he cannot hire you until you have working papers, have him sign the application so that you can secure the working papers. Once you have the working papers, you can begin work.
I'm 17 years old. Do I still need working papers?
Except in certain special cases, children cannot start work until they turn 14 years old. Exceptions include golf caddies, newspaper delivery persons, and actors.
I lost my working papers. How do I get a new set of working papers? Do I have to go through the whole process again?
I live in Pennsylvania, but I landed a job in New Jersey. Do I need to get working papers in Pennsylvania or in New Jersey?
Minors need working papers until they turn 18. Minors who are 17 years old and have graduated high school no longer need working papers.
I live in New Jersey, but I landed a job in Philadelphia. Do I need to get working papers in New Jersey or Pennsylvania?
You need to be certified to work in the state in which you will be working. You should contact the main public high school in the area in which you will be working to find out about their working papers procedures and hours of operation.
What's the difference between a "blue card" and a "yellow card"?
You need to be certified to work in the state in which you will be working. Follow the instructions for obtaining working papers to obtain working papers in the School District of Philadelphia.
On the working papers application, Part B asks the parent to indicate which employment certificate they are requesting for their child. Which one should she choose?
Minors are issued work permits according to their age. Applicants who are under the age of 16 are automatically issued a "Vaction Employment Certificate", which is a yellow card. Minors who are over the age of 16 are issued a "Transferable Work Permit", which is a blue card. Since 14- and 15-year olds are subject to stricter labor laws, they are issued the vacation employment certificate and are required to renew the certificate every time they secure a new job, until they turn 16. Once they turn 16, applicants are able to receive the transferable work permit which they can use for any job thereafter.
I received a "Vacation Employment Certificate". Is this card only good for employment during the summer?
Don't worry about this section. The type of employment certificate a minor is issued is determined by the student's age and enrollment status. The issuing officer will make this choice when you complete the process at one of the six working papers offices.
What is a General Employment Certificate?
No, the vacation employment certificate is issued to minors under the age of 16. It can be used all year.
This summer, I am returning to work for the same employer I worked for last summer. Do I need to get a new set of working papers, or can I use the ones I had from last year?
The General Employment Certificate is issued to minors who have withdrawn from school. Since they have "dropped out", these minors are subject to relaxed labor law requirements.
Why do I need working papers?
If you have a transferable work permit ("blue card"), your working papers are transferable from one job to another. In that case, you don't need to ever get a new work permit, as long as you do not loose your old one.
However, if you received a vacation employment certificate ("yellow card") for the job, the working papers are applicable only if you have not worked a different job since leaving that employer last summer. For instance, if you worked for the Department of Recreation last summer and you have not worked a different job since the end of the summer, you don't need to get a new set of working papers to work with the Department of Recreation.
The employment certification process was established to ensure that minors are working in safe jobs, under safe conditions. When an issuing officer suspects that a minor is being employed in an unsafe job or is being required to work beyond the hours that are allowable by Child Labor Law, the officer consults the Bureau of Labor Law Compliance. If you have a specific question about Pennsylavania Child Labor Law, contact the Bureau of Labor Law Compliance at 1 (800) 932-0665.