Do I need a work permit?
If you are under the age of 18 you will, most likely, need a work permit to be employed in Maryland. Maryland law has different rules for individuals under the age of 14 years and individuals between the ages of 14 and 17 years.
- Ages 0-13: If you are under the age of 14 years, you may not work any job unless you get a special permit to be employed as an entertainer, model, or performer.
- Age 14-17: If you are between the ages of 14 and 17 years, you must have a work permit to work any job.
There are exceptions. If performed outside of the prescribed school day and the activity does not involve mining, manufacturing or hazardous occupations, Maryland law does not consider the following activities to be employment requiring a work permit:
- Farm work;
- Domestic work;
- Working for a parent’s business;
- Caddying at a golf course;
- Teaching on a sailboat;
- Delivering newspapers;
- Making an evergreen wreath in or near a home;
- Acting as a counselor or instructor at a certified youth camp; or
- Unpaid volunteer work (parent/guardian must consent in writing).
The law lists certain jobs that minors are not allowed to do. Generally, these laws focus on hazardous or dangerous activities and materials. The Maryland Department of Labor's Minor Fact Sheet provides an overview. Learn more about youth employment safety laws.
The Labor and Industry Commissioner has the power to cancel a work permit or special permit if it doesn't meet the Commissioner's requirements.
Steps to Get a Work Permit
- Get a job offer.
- You must have a job offer before applying for a work permit. Your application is reviewed and approved only if the job you are asking for permission to work is allowed under Maryland law. A work permit is granted to work for specific employer. If you want to change jobs, you will need to submit a new permit application.
- Complete the online application at the Maryland Department of Labor's Employment of Minors (Work Permit) page.
- Review and print your permit.
- Sign your work permit and have your parent or guardian sign the permit..
- Take your permit to your employer and have your employer sign the permit.
- To be valid, your work permit must be signed by you, your parent or guardian and your employer. Your employer is required to keep your work permit on file for 3 years.
Remember: If you change jobs, you need a new permit!
If you want to apply for a special permit to be employed as a model, performer, or entertainer, special permit applications are only available through the Baltimore office of the Division of Labor and Industry.
A special permit must contain notarized signatures that show the consent of the parent or guardian of the minor and the employer.
Read the law: Md. Code, Labor and Employment § 3-207