Child Labor Laws and Work Permits
On Oct. 24, 2012, Governor Tom Corbett signed into law Act 151 of 2012 resulting in sweeping changes to Pennsylvania’s existing Child Labor Law. The Act which took effect on Jan. 22, 2013, confers new powers and duties on the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, school districts, and others with specific responsibilities under the law.You can access the Child Labor Act and an Abstract of the Child Labor Act Hours Provisions on the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s website. To download a School District Work Permit Application, click here. Upon completion, the form should be returned to the High School front office to be validated.
The following is a brief summary of the major changes to Pennsylvania’s Child Labor Law that impact school districts. There are many other changes to the law such as work hours, summer school, and high school graduates. You are encouraged to thoroughly review the new child labor law.
1. Although not specifically addressed in the new law, minors who currently possess a valid work permit may continue to utilize that permit to work. Minors, who possess a vacation certificate and desire to work for another employer, may obtain a new work permit from the issuing officer in their school district. All minors who possess either an old or new work permit must follow the new rules regarding employment.
2. Requests for work permits involving theatrical and other similar performances will continue to be processed by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. These minors will need verification signed by the principal of the school attended by the minor or the issuing officer of the minor's school district. This statement will verify that the performance and rehearsals will not interfere with the educational instruction or school progress of the minor or a guarantee that arrangements are made for a qualified tutor for the minor. If the minor is to be tutored, the application will set forth the name and address of the tutor, whether the tutor is a certified teacher, the name and address of the school official approving the subjects for tutoring and the tutoring arrangements and the number of hours per week the minor is to be tutored. For additional information on employment of minors in performances and the role that school districts play in approving such permits, please visit the Department of Labor and Industry’s website.
3. Under the Child Labor Law, an issuing officer can be a district superintendent or a supervising principal of a public school district. If a public school district does not have a superintendent or supervising principal, the secretary of the board of school directors may serve this function. The above officials can authorize, in writing, another individual to issue work permits.
4. Under the Child Labor Law, neither the employer nor a physician will need to sign an application for a work permit. The new law does require that an applicant’s parents or legal guardian sign an application for a work permit. In lieu of a signature by a parent or legal guardian, the applicant can sign a statement before a notary public attesting to the accuracy of facts in the application on a form prescribed by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. The statement must be attached to the application. This requirement does not apply if the applicant can show official proof of high school graduation.
5. Under the Child Labor Law, there will only be one work permit rather than three. The new work permit will apply to all minors age 14 through 17 and can be used for more than one employer. The permit will certify that the holder personally appeared before the issuing officer, that all papers required by law have been examined and approved, and that all requirements for issuance have been fulfilled. The work permit must be signed by the holder in the presence of the issuing officer. Minors who can demonstrate official proof of high school graduation do not have to appear before the issuing officer. The issuing officer cannot issue a work permit until they have examined and verified the following papers which verify age: an official document of the commonwealth or if not an official Commonwealth document, an attested transcript of a birth certificate, a certified baptismal certificate, a passport, a certified documentary record, or the signed statement of a physician stating that after examination they believe the minor to be of proper age.
6. Under the Child Labor Law, an issuing officer may deny a work permit if, in the issuing officer’s judgment, the applicant cannot maintain adequate academic achievement if permitted to work during the school year. Similarly, an issuing officer may revoke a work permit if in the issuing officer’s judgment the minor cannot maintain adequate academic achievement if permitted to work during the school year.
7. Under the Child Labor Law, an employer must notify the issuing officer within five days of the normal duties and hours of employment of a minor. Within five days after termination of employment, the employer must notify the issuing officer of such termination. Employers are also required to maintain a copy of the minor’s work permit.
8. Under the Child Labor Law, enforcement capabilities have been expanded to include school personnel. The following school officials have enforcement capabilities: chief school administrator, home and school visitor, attendance officer (appointed under sections 1341 and 1342 of the Public School Code), and issuing officer. School districts administer applications and issue work permits. If an enforcement officer has reason to believe that an individual working without a permit is a minor or that a minor with a work permit is working in violation of the age restrictions under the Child Labor Act, the officer may demand that the person employing the individual, provide, within ten days the following: proof of age of the individual in question or cease to employ or permit the individual to work.
For additional information, please contact PDE’s School Services unit at 717-783-3750 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.