The Illinois Department of Labor oversees the safety of minors in Illinois by regulating the employment of workers under 16 years of age. The law protects children by limiting working hours, prohibiting work in hazardous occupations, and requiring employment certificates (820 ILCS 205/1-22 Child Labor Law).
The law protects children by:
- Requiring an employment certificate, which confirms that a minor is old enough to work (must be 14 years old except for models/actors), physically capable to do the job, and that job will not interfere with the minor's education;
- Prohibiting work on premises where alcohol is served or in hazardous occupations*, and
- Limiting work hours.
- All work before 7am and after 7pm between Labor Day and June 1 is prohibited. It is 9pm from June 1 to Labor Day.
- Cannot work more than 8 hours on non-school days or more than 3 hours on school days.
- Cannot work more than 24 hours on school weeks or more than 28 hours during non-school weeks.
- Cannot work more than 6 days a week.
Obtain a Work Permit
To obtain a Work Permit, the minor must:
- Complete the Employment Certificate Application Form contained in this Work Permit Packet
- Provide a Letter of Intent: A statement of intention to employ signed by the prospective employer setting forth the specific nature of the occupation, exact hours of the day, number of hours per day, and days per week during which the minor should be employed.
- Provide Evidence of Age: An original birth certificate issued by the city, county, state or hospital is preferred. If the original birth certificate is not available, a baptismal certificate, passport, insurance policy or notice of birth registration is accepted.
- Complete the Principal's Statement to Issuing Officer contained in the Work Permit Packet
- When school is in session, the school counselor is the Issuing Officer.
- During summer months, the Regional Office of Education is the Issuing Officer.
- Complete the Certificate of Physical Fitness (in the Work Permit Packet) signed by a physician certifying that the minor is able to perform the job in question.
- Present documentation with a parent/guardian present. The parent/guardian must show a valid state issued ID or driver's license.
*Common Prohibited Occupations
- Occupations at filling or service stations, including the retail portion thereof.
- Occupations requiring the use of power-driven machinery.
- Most occupations in logging and saw milling.
- Any occupation in construction, including demolition and repair.
- Occupations involving the use of ladders, scaffolds, or their substitutes.
- Occupations involving contact with moving vehicles.
- Occupations involving laundry, dry-cleaning or rug cleaning equipment.
- For a complete list please refer to the Child Labor Law, 820-ILCS 205/1-22.
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