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Working Papers

Employment Certificates and Permits

In New York State, anyone under 18 (minors) must show an employment certificate before they begin work.  Many people call these "working papers". The rule covers:
  • High school graduates
  • Minors who work for their parents
  • Minors who do industrial homework

School officials issue all working papers, except for child performer permits.  The New York State Department of Labor issues child performer permits.

Exceptions


Types of Working Papers (Employment Certificates and Permits)


Certificates


Permits


How to get Working Papers 


Validity


Location of Working Papers

 

EXCEPTIONS

1. Work as a caddie on a golf course (only if 14 or older)

2. Babysitting (only if 14 or older)

3. Work as a bridge caddie (only if 12 or older)

4. Work on a farm (16 or 17 year old)

*However, a Farm Work Permit is required for someone 14 or 15 years old. A Farm Work Permit - Special is required for a minor age 12 or 13 who harvests berries, fruits and vegetables by hand.

5. A minor to help a:

  • Parent
  • Aunt or uncle
  • Grandparent or
  • Guardian

     - may sell produce from their farm at their farm stand or farmer's market stand. However, the child must be at least 12 years old.

6. Children 12 or older working for their parents:

  • On the home farm
  • At other outdoor work not connected with a business

7. A college student 16 or 17 years old working for a:

  • Nonprofit college or university
  • Fraternity or sorority
  • Student association or faculty association

8. A minor 14 or 15 years old to do:

  • Casual yard work and household chores
  • At a home or a nonprofit, noncommercial organization

    - as long as they don't use any power-driven machinery.

Those aged 16 or 17 do not need employment certificates for casual yard work or household chores, even if it involves the power tools commonly used for yard work or household chores.

Thus, for lawn and garden work, the need for working papers depends on:

  • A minor's age
  • If they use power-driven machinery
  • If the employment is casual (occasional, not regular or planned)
Requirement for an employment certificate
 

 

MINOR 14 AND 15 YEARS OLD

 

 

MINORS 16 AND 17 YEARS OLD

 

No power-driven machinery used

No certificate if work is casual
Certificate required if work is regular

No certificate if work is casual
Certificate required if work is regular

Power-driven machinery is used

Certificate required whether or not work is casual*

No certificate if work is casual
Certificate required if work is regular


*Federal law requires a 16 year age minimum for the operation of power-driven machinery including lawn mowers.

TYPES OF WORKING PAPERS (EMPLOYMENT CERTIFICATES AND PERMITS)

CERTIFICATES

 

1. Student Non-Factory Employment Certificate

-

AT-18 (blue paper)

 

  • Issued to youth ages 14 and 15 who plan to work at permitted occupations during vacations or after school hours
  • Not valid for work:
    • In factory workrooms or construction
    • Involving use of prohibited machinery or chemical processes
    • As a helper on a motor vehicle
    • Cleaning, oiling, wiping or adjusting belts to machinery

 

2.

Student General Employment Certificate -

AT-19 (green paper)

 

  • Issued to youth ages 16 and 17 who attend school and plan to work during vacations or after school hours
  • Valid for: Work in a factory and other trade, business or service
  • Not valid for hazardous employment such as:
    • Operating certain machines
    • Doing construction work
    • Helping on a motor vehicle
    • Cleaning, oiling, wiping or adjusting belts to machinery

 

3. Full-Time Employment Certificate - AT-20 (salmon paper)

 

  • Issued to youth ages 16 and 17, who are not attending school or who are leaving school for full-time employment
  • Valid for: factory or other types of work
  • Not valid for hazardous employment such as:
    • Operating certain machines
    • Doing construction work
    • Helping on a motor vehicle
    • Cleaning, oiling, wiping or adjusting belts to machinery  

(See State Prohibited Occupations and Federal Prohibited Occupations)

PERMITS

 

4. Special Occupation Permits

 

Farm Work Permit

  • Not valid for: work in, or in connection with, a factory or cannery
  • Each employer must sign the permit. The youth must carry the permit while working.
  • For youth

    ages 12 and 13

    : AT-25 (white paper)
  • Allows work in hand-harvest of berries, fruits, and vegetables
  • Must be accompanied by a parent or guardian or give the employer written consent from them
  • For youth

    ages 14 and 15

    : AT-24 (yellow paper)
  • Allows work before and after school, on week-ends and during vacations

Newspaper Carrier Permits - AT-23 (buff paper)

  • For youth

    ages 11 to 18

    who deliver, or sell and deliver to homes or places of business:
    • newspapers
    • shopping papers
    • periodicals

     

    The minor must carry the permit while working

     

(See Special Occupations

.

Also, note that under Federal law a 14 year age minimum is required for delivery of periodicals and similar items.)

 

Street Trades Permits - AT-26 (Ivory paper) 

  • For self-employed youth

    ages 14 to 18

    who sell newspapers or periodicals   

(See Special Occupations)

Child Model Permits (AT-12, green booklet)

  • For child models under 18 years old
  • The child or adult going with the child must bring the booklet to each job
  • The booklet must record the date and hours worked each day
  • The job-site employer must sign each day

(See Special Occupations - Child Actor/Model)

Employment Permit for a Child Performer (LS 555, issued by the NYS Department of Labor)

 

For performers under 18 years old

  • Good for 6 months 
  • Must be kept on file by the employer 

The parent or guardian of the child must keep a copy and may get additional copies for use on other jobs

OTHER TYPES OF CERTIFICATES

 

Certificates of Age

 

For his/her protection, an employer may request a minor who is over 18 to provide a certificate of age. Minors can obtain age certificates from school authorities, which the employer can then keep on file as conclusive proof of the worker's age.

HOW TO GET WORKING PAPERS

Obtain an application form:

 

Buffalo:


City Hall, 65 Niagara Square, Rm. 818
Call (716) 816-3593 

 

New York City:


Board of Education
Office of Attendance
52 Chambers St., Rm. 219
Call (212) 374-6095 for other high school locations

Elsewhere in New York State:


Get an application at the local high school or school district office

If you are not in school or if you apply during vacation periods, these offices still can issue working papers.

 

Application Form

 

Complete the application form.  It requires:

  • The signature of your parent or guardian
  • Proof of age (your birth or baptism record, driver license, passport)
  • A doctor's certificate showing that you are physically fit to work. (You do not need this certificate for newspaper carrier permits, if you are able to take part in the school's physical education program)

 

Physical Fitness

 

Young people can get these certificates from school doctors, from their own doctor or from other physicians named by the Department of Health.

Young people from other states who seek work in New York can use a certificate of physical fitness issued by a physician in their home state.

If a doctor finds that a minor is not physically fit for some jobs but can do other types of work, the doctor can issue a Certificate of Limited Physical Fitness.

For minors to get full-time working papers, their parent or guardian must give consent in person before the school authorities. (High school graduates can use written consent.)

In New York City and Buffalo, a l6-year-old person who is leaving school must have a pledge of employment signed by the prospective employer.  The pledge must show:

  • The number of work-hours per day
  • Work days per week
  • What kind of work they will do

 

Farm Work

 

For a farm work permit, the minor must submit:

  • The signature of your parent or guardian
  • Proof of age (your birth or baptism record, driver license, passport)
  • A doctor's certificate showing that you are physically fit to work.

The hiring party does not have to submit a pledge of employment.

 

Newspaper Carrier

 

For a Newspaper Carrier Permit, a minor who takes gym at school does not need a certificate of physical fitness.  If the minor does not take gym at school, you must get a certificate of physical fitness.

 

Child Model

 

For a child model permit, the minor must have parental consent and a health certificate.

VALIDITY OF WORKING PAPERS (CERTIFICATES AND PERMITS)

Students with several jobs may request multiple copies of certificates or permits.

Minors may use a newspaper carrier permit to work for any publisher or distributor who supplies papers or periodicals. A minor may use the farm work permit and the child model permit to work for any employer, but each employer must sign the permit.

A young person may work for any number of employers using:

  • The Student Non-Factory Employment Certificate
  • The Student General Employment Certificate
  • The Full-Time Employment Certificate

When the minor leaves a job, the employer must give back the certificate. Students with several jobs may request multiple copies of certificates or permits. The total hours worked by a young person for multiple employers may not go over the daily and weekly hours limits.

LOCATION OF WORKING PAPERS

The employer must keep Student Non-Factory, Student General, Full-Time, and Limited Employment Certificates on file at the place where the minor works, as long as they keep the job.

The minor must keep Farm Work Permits, Model Permits, Newspaper Carrier Permits, and Street Trades Permits in his/her possession at all times.

A temporary placement agency that assigns employees for short-term service at other establishments must keep on file in its office the original copy of these certificates:

  • Student Non-Factory
  • Student General
  • Full-Time Employment Certificate

It must provide copies at the establishment where the minor works.

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