Human Resources Policies

HR02 Employment of Minors

Policy Status: 

Under Review

Subject Matter Expert: 

Lori Yacisin, 814-865-9343,

Policy Steward: 

Vice President for Human Resources

  • Purpose
  • Definition of Minor
  • Minimum Age for Employment
  • Employment Certificate or Transferable Work Permit
  • Procedure When Employing a Minor
  • Work Schedule Limits
  • Proof of Age
  • Required Postings

    To comply with state legislation governing the employment of minors.


    For the purpose of this policy, a minor is defined as anyone who is under the age of eighteen (18). However, an individual age seventeen (17) who has graduated from high school, or has attained his or her academic potential as determined by the appropriate chief school administrator, is treated as age eighteen (18) for the purpose of state legislation governing the employment of minors and, therefore, is not under the purview of this policy.


    Employment at The Pennsylvania State University is available only to a person who has reached his or her sixteenth birthday. A person under sixteen years of age is not permitted to work for the University under any circumstances.


    Each minor (as defined above) who is to be employed at the University either full-time or part-time is required to present either an employment certificate or a transferable work permit to the Employment and Compensation Division before beginning employment. These forms are sometimes referred to as "Working Papers." State regulations vary somewhat for the two types of forms:

    1. Employment Certificate

    An employment certificate is required each time a minor changes employers or goes into a different type of position with the same employer. If the type of work a minor performs changes in basic character, or the minor transfers to a different type of job (for example, from office worker to landscape laborer; or landscape laborer to laboratory helper), a new certificate must be obtained.

    2. Transferable Work Permit

    A transferable work permit is transferable from one employer to another and from one job to another with the same employer. Both employment certificates and transferable work permits are issued for specific periods and must be reissued if the minor is employed longer than originally anticipated or again at another time.


    When it has been decided to employ a minor in any position, full-time or part-time, the Employment and Compensation Division must be called. This division can review all of the necessary procedures that will have to be completed to secure an employment certificate or transferable work permit. The minor is not to do any work for the University until the supervisor receives notice from the Employment and Compensation Division that an employment certificate or transferable work permit has been received and approved by the University.

    Each employment certificate or transferable work permit is retained in the Employment and Compensation Division.

    When the employment of a minor is terminated for any reason, or the minor graduates from high school, inform the Employment and Compensation Division. It is necessary to return the employment certificate to the school district, or the transferable work permit to the minor.


    No minor aged 16 or 17 shall be employed more than 8 hours a day, 6 days a week, or 44 hours a week. If such an employee works during a high school term while enrolled as a high school student, the limit is 28 hours per week.

    Continuous working hours may not exceed 5 hours without interruption of at least 30 minutes for lunch for a minor who is 16 or 17 years of age.

    During a high school term, no high school student aged 16 or 17 may be employed between the hours of 12 midnight and 6:00 a.m.. However, a minor who is 16 or 17 years of age may be employed until, but not after, 1:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and on days preceding a school vacation occurring during the school year, excepting the last day of such vacation period.


    In any case where there is doubt about the age of an applicant for a position, the applicant should be required to submit a proof of age card. This card is issued by the school district in which the applicant is or was enrolled.


    Pennsylvania State law requires that an abstract of the Child Labor Law and a list of minors employed in an area be posted in a conspicuous place in the area. The list must include the names of the minors, their ages, their individual daily starting and stopping times (including the starting and stopping times for a meal or rest period of at least thirty minutes) and their individual total hours of work for the week.

    Copies of the abstract, and the form for listing minors' names and schedule information, are available from the Employment and Compensation Division.

    Date Approved: 

    March 25, 2003

    Date Published: 

    March 25, 2003

    Effective Date: 

    March 25, 2003