Verify that a business can hire teens: Make sure they have a Minor Work Permit.

Hiring teen workers in non-agricultural jobs

A summary of the basics can be found in these publications:

Steps a business must follow

  1. Obtain a Minor Work Permit endorsement through your Business License Application prior to hiring a minor. Go to the Department of Revenue - Business Licensing Service Web site or any L&I office. You must post your Business License with current minor work permit endorsement. This must be renewed annually. Renewal notice will be sent by the Department of Revenue. Allow 2 – 3 business days for a response to online applications. Accuracy and completeness speeds up the processing time.
  2. Before permitting a minor to work, you must have the minor's parent or legal guardian and the school complete the appropriate authorization form listed below and keep a copy for your files. These forms can be obtained from L&I either online or by emailing teensafety@Lni.wa.gov.
  3. Obtain proof of minor's age. You must keep proof of age on file. Examples include a copy of a birth certificate, driver's license, school ID or a witnessed statement of the parent or legal guardian.
  4. Keep employment records for 3 years after you hire a minor. You must keep information such as employee name, address, occupation, dates of employment, rate(s) of pay, amount paid each pay period and the hours worked. These records must be available to the employee on request at any reasonable time.

Special rules for hiring teens into special jobs

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Variances and penalties

What else does an employer need to know about hiring teens?

Adolescence is a time of rapid change and learning. A few “tips” can help keep them safe in the workplace:

  • Teens are entitled to a safe and healthy work environment just as adults do. Follow all the health and safety requirements. If assistance is needed, contact a WISHA health and safety consultant in your area.
  • Teens are entitled to workers’ compensation the same as adults.
  • Teens require increased supervision and lots of repetition to learn new skills.
  • Teens should be encouraged to ask questions and ask for assistance if they are unsure of how to do assigned tasks.
  • Teens have special work requirements regarding:

For more detail, see Washington Administrative Code:
Non-agricultural Employment of Minors (WAC 296-125)

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