Working Papers

Working Papers

Students under the age of 18 require working papers to gain employment.  Working papers can be picked up in the Guidance Office or printed below.  Keep in mind that you must have separate working papers for each employer.  You must also fill out new working papers after age 15, as the laws for 14&15 year olds are different than 16&17 year olds.

*A through D must be completed first before being returned to the Guidance Office.  The school will complete Items E & F once all other portions are completed.
This information is copied from the NJ Dept of Labor and Workforce Development.  You may also find some of the links listed helpful.

Child Labor

The Child Labor Law enforced by all units within the Division of Wage and Hour Compliance protects minors from working excessive hours and under hazardous conditions. For workers under the age of 18 there are limits on the number of hours per day and per week, limits on the actual hours of work, and restrictions on the types of work which can be performed.

Below are the requirements which apply to all minors:

  • They must have an employment certificate, also commonly referred to as “working papers” or a special permit in order to be employed;
  • They must have a separate working paper for each employer;
  • They must be given a 30 minute meal break after five consecutive hours of work.

The remainder of the requirements vary depending upon the age of the minor, the type of work or industry, and whether the work is being performed while school is in session.

Below is a list of jobs minors can perform and also a list of prohibited occupations. This list is far from all inclusive and the opportunities listed are subject to non-performance of the hazardous and dangerous activities listed below.

There are two other items of interest at the bottom of this page including the limitations on the hours of work and information on when the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour must be paid.

Additional information can be obtained by calling the Division of Wage and Hour Compliance at (609) 292-2305.


At 12 years of age they may do some jobs:

  • Newspaper delivery over residential routes. (May start at 11 years of age)
  • Farming in all its branches.
  • Gardening.
  • Nursery work.
  • Raising of livestock, bees, fur-bearing animals or poultry.
  • Forestry.
  • Theatrical productions. (No minimum age limit.)

At 14 years of age they may do many jobs:

  • Clerical and office jobs in industrial wholesale, retail, service, and professional establishments.
  • Hotel jobs.
  • Sales persons.
  • Solicitors.
  • Collectors
  • Distributors.
  • Demonstrators.
  • Delivery jobs other than with a motor vehicle.
  • Newspaper and magazine delivery over non-residential routes.
  • Restaurant jobs.
  • Soda fountain jobs.
  • Mercantile store jobs.
  • Supermarket and food store jobs.
  • Amusement industry jobs.
  • Standard office type machine operators.
  • Standard domestic type machine operators.
  • Hospital and health agency jobs.
  • Library attendants.
  • Professional assistants.
  • Counselors at camps, beach attendants, lifeguards, caddies, pinsetters.
  • Domestic helpers, maids, cooks, cleaners, baby-sitters, janitors.
  • Singers, models, entertainers, dancers, and theatrical work.
  • Plus all jobs listed for 12 year olds and many more.

At 16 years of age they may do most jobs:

  • Factory machine operators.*
  • Power lawn mower operators.
  • Power tool operators.*
  • Tractor operators.
  • Machinery operators.*
  • Mechanic jobs.
  • Plus all jobs listed for 12 and 14 year olds and most other jobs.* except those specifically prohibited

At 18 years of age they may do all jobs.


The work accident rate incidence is twice the average for workers under 18. The list below, which pertains only to workers under 18 years of age and is not all inclusive. If you have a question about a specific occupation, call the Division of Wage and Hour Compliance at (609) 292-2305.

Prohibited Products

  • Paints, colors, white and red lead.  (Manufacture and packing only.)
  • Dangerous or poisonous acids and dyes.
  • Injurious quantities of toxic or noxious dust, gases, vapors, or fumes.
  • Benzol or any benzol compound which is volatile or which can penetrate the skin.
  • Explosives. (Manufacture, transportation or use only.)
  • Toxic and hazardous substances.
  • Radioactive substances and ionizing radiation.
  • Carcinogenic substances.
  • Corrosive materials.
  • Highly inflammable substances.
  • Pesticides.

Prohibited Machines

  • Power-driven woodworking machinery. (Supervised bona-fide apprentices may do this work.)
  • Grinding, abrasive, polishing, or buffing machines.
  • Punch presses and stamping machines with over 1/4 inch clearance.
  • Guillotine action cutting machines.
  • Corrugating, crimping, or embossing machines.
  • Paper lace machines.
  • Dough brakes or mixing machines in bakeries or cracker machinery.
  • Calendar rolls or mixing rolls in rubber manufacturing.
  • Centrifugal extractors or mangles in laundries or dry cleaning establishments.
  • Operation or repair of elevators or other hoisting apparatus. (They may operate the push button type.)
  • Corn pickers, power-driven hay balers, or power field choppers.
  • Compactors.
  • Circular saws, band saws, guillotine shears.
  • Minors under 16 may use standard domestic type machines or appliances, standard office machines, standard types of poultry feeders, egg graders, egg washers, egg coolers, and milking machines but may not use other power-driven machinery such as power tools, power lawn mowers, power woodworking and metal worker tools and power-driven meat slicing and meat grinding machines or conveyors.

Prohibited Establishments

  • Ore reduction works, smelters, hot rolling mills, furnaces, foundries, forging shops or any other place in which the heating, melting, or heat treatment of metals is carried on.
  • Mines and quarries.
  • Establishments where alcoholic liquors are distilled, rectified, compounded, brewed, manufactured, bottled or sold for consumption on the premises.*
  • Pool and billiard rooms.
  • Junk and scrap metal yards.
  • Disorderly houses.* See Law or Abstract for exceptions

Prohibited Activities

  • Oiling, wiping, or cleaning machinery in motion or assisting therein.
  • Steam boilers carrying a pressure in excess of 15 pounds.
  • Construction work.
  • Fabrication or assembly of ships.
  • Transportation of payrolls off the employer’s premises.
  • Demolition of buildings, ships, or heavy machinery.
  • Indecent of immoral exposure.
  • Most occupations in slaughtering, meat packing, processing, or rendering.

Hours of Work:

Minors Age 14 and 15 – During school weeks:

  • No more than 18 hours per week
  • No more than 3 hours per day on school days
  • No more than 8 hours per day on Saturday or Sunday
  • No more than 6 consecutive days in a pay week
  • Not before 7 am or after 7 pm

Minors Age 14 and 15 – Non-school weeks:

  • No more than 40 hours per week
  • No more than 8 hours per day
  • No more than 6 consecutive days in a pay week
  • Not before 7 am or after 7 pm during school year
  • Not before 7 am or after 9 pm from the last day of school to Labor Day with written permission from a parent

Minors Age 16 and 17 – During school weeks:

  • No more than 40 hours per week
  • No more than 8 hours per day
  • No more than 6 consecutive days in a pay week
  • Not before 6 am or after 11 pm
  • Not before 6 am or after 12 midnight on Fridays and Saturdays or days not followed by a school day

Minors Age 16 and 17 – Non-school weeks:

  • No more than 40 hours per week
  • No more than 8 hours per day
  • No more than 6 consecutive days in a pay week
  • Not before 6 am or after 11 pm
  • Not before 6 am or after 3 am in restaurant and seasonal amusements and with written permission from a parent

Rate of Pay:

Minimum Wage Required:

  • Retail/mercantile
  • Food Service (restaurants)
  • Hotel/Motel
  • Beauty Culture
  • Laundry/Cleaning/Dyeing
  • Light Manufacturing/Apparel
  • First Processing of Farm Products

Minimum Wage Not Required:
An employer in any type of business that is not listed above is not required to pay minimum wage and may establish whatever rate they feel is appropriate for the position. However, if the minor is employed in a job that is related to food service, they must be paid the minimum wage. For example, an office worker in a nursing home can be paid less than the minimum wage, however, a dining room waitress in the nursing home must be paid minimum wage.

For more information: