Employment of Minors and Work Permits
A work permit is required before anyone under the age of 16 is allowed to work in any job with the exception of agriculture or domestic service work. Employers must have a work permit on file for the minor being employed before they may allow the minor to begin work.
The Labor Standards Bureau enforces employment of minors laws that establish maximum hours of work, time of day restrictions, and prohibited employment for minors 11 through 17 years of age.
Where can I get a Work Permit?
Work permits are issued at various locations throughout the state. You may apply for a work permit at your school office or call (608) 266-6860 for information on where in your area you may apply for a work permit.
NOTE: The permit will not be issued if the work is prohibited by law.
- Work Permit Offices in Wisconsin (office location and phone number)
- Work Permit Officer Handbook Page | PDF (Updated June 2014)
- For a Free PDF Reader
- For a printable PDF version of the Work Permit Officer Handbook
How to Obtain a Work Permit
To obtain a work permit, either the minor alone or the minor and a parent must visit the permit officer, taking with them:
- the minor's birth certificate or other proof of age
- the minor's social security card
- letter from the employer expressing intent to hire, on employer's letterhead, describing:
- job duties
- hours of work
- written parents' consent
- $10.00 permit fee
Proof of Minor's Age
The minor must present an original document from the following list:
- A duly attested birth certificate
- A verified baptismal certificate
- A driver’s license or photo ID card issued by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation
For the Employer - Permit Fee Requirement
The employer must reimburse the $10.00 permit fee to the minor by no later than the date of the first paycheck. Copies of the permit go to the employer and the minor, in addition to the school district where the minor is enrolled.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What restrictions are there on the hours minors may work?
Employers of minors under the age of 16 are subject to certain restrictions when scheduling those minors to work. The time of day they may be employed -- including how early and how late -- and the number of hours they may work per day and per week are all regulated. These restrictions depend on whether the work day is a school day and whether the week falls during the summer season (June 1 through Labor Day) or during the school year (After Labor Day through May 31). The hours that 16- and 17-year-old minors may work is not limited, except that they may not work during hours they are required to be in school.
In addition to maximum hours and time of day restrictions, no minor (17 and younger) may work longer than 6 consecutive hours without a 30-miunute duty free meal period. No minor under 16, other than those working in agriculture or delivering newspapers, may work more than 6 days in any workweek.
Hours worked during school hours as part of an approved written work experience program do not count as part of the total permitted hours of work per day or per week.
The regulations concerning the daily or weekly hours minors may work can be found on the back of the copy of the work permit issued to the minor and the employer.
- Poster ERD-9212 - Hours and Times of Day Minors May Work in Wisconsin
- Poster ERD-9212-S - Horas y Horarios del Día Que Menores Pueden Trabajar en Wisconsin
What are Street Trades?
"Street trades" means the selling, offering for sale, soliciting for, collecting for, displaying or distributing any articles, goods, merchandise, commercial service, posters, circulars, newspapers or magazines, or the blacking of boots, on any street or other public place or from house to house. Instead of a work permit, the permit officer will issue a Street Trades Permit for this type of work
Where and when can minors work?
Minors may be employed only in certain types of work until they turn 18. Additionally, those under 16 may be employed only during certain hours of the day and of the week. Every employer is responsible for having a work permit on file for a minor before allowing that minor to work in his or her business. The employer is also responsible for making sure that minors work only the hours allowed and that they do not perform any prohibited employment. These provisions are enforced by a complaint to the Equal Rights Division within 2 years of the alleged violation.
Where can I get a copy of the Labor Standards Complaint form?
What other employment of minor references (Publications) are available?
- Guide to Wisconsin's Employment of Minors Laws - For All Youth under 18 years of Age (formerly named ERD-17231-P)
- Wisconsin Employment of Minors Guide
- Manufacturing & Construction Equipment & Wisconsin's Employment of Minors Laws Page (formerly named ERD-17607-P)
- For a Free PDF Reader
- For a printable PDF version of Manufacturing & Construction Equipment & Wisconsin's Employment of Minors Laws (formerly named ERD-17607-P)
- Federal Employment of Minors Law Requirements
- Employment of Minors: Wis. Stat §§ 103.64-103.82 and Wis. Admin. Code Chapter DWD 270
- Street Trades: Wis. Stat. § 103.21-32 and Wis. Admin. Code Chapter DWD 271