Work Permits

In Illinois a person may not work at most types of jobs before the age of 16.  Persons under that age who wish to get a job must obtain a work permit in order to do so legally.  The work permit is awarded to those underage people who have demonstrated that they are entering the work force willingly, will be working in an acceptable work environment for younger people (eg: not in a dangerous job, or unacceptably long hours), and will not be interfering with their education by doing so.

What kind of job does not require a work permit?

Some jobs are assumed to be acceptable for young children. These include delivering papers, golf caddying, doing chores at someone's home, or working at an agricultural task.

Who is eligible to obtain a work permit?

Anyone who is at least 14 years old may obtain a work permit for most other types of jobs.

What kind of job is acceptable?

The rules describing the jobs that a minor may legally perform are long and complex and cannot be thoroughly explored in this paper. But in general, any potentially hazardous jobs like carpentry work, or roofing, or quarry mining, are not allowed.  In addition the number of hours that a minor may work is severely limited during school days and also limited for any particular week.  The issuing officer will have the guidelines, and should take the time to make a good determination about your situation.  The employer also has the responsibility of knowing these rules and following them exactly.

Certain jobs require special supervision by the parents. If the child is going to be employed in the entertainment field then a parent must be present at all performances and there is a limit to the number of performances that may be required of the child, daily or weekly.

Who may issue the work permit?

The local high school will have a staff member or two who can, but the law also allows for a parent to schedule a virtual appointment with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Please follow the instructions here: 

What does the homeschooler need to do to get a work permit?