Youth Employment for School Officials

Work Certificates

Work certificates are issued to students only upon application in person of the child with the written consent of his parent, legal custodian or guardian or, if deemed necessary by the issuing officer, the child shall be accompanied by his parent, guardian or custodian. It is also the responsibility of the school official to ensure all aspects of the law is followed prior to issuing a certificate. The Division reviews all work certificates issued by school officials. Work certificates are required for youth 14 to 15 years of age before they start employment at any job (other than in the entertainment industry) during the school year. The school superintendent has the right to deny a certificate or cancel a previously issued certificate if the employment is deemed not in the best interest of the youth. School officials should keep copies of certificates issued, and cancelation notices. The certificate may be renewed or another certificate issued on application of the child with the written parental consent but in no case shall a certificate be issued until the issuing officer has received and approved the following papers:

  1. A statement of intention to employ signed by the prospective employer setting forth the specific nature of the occupation in which he intends to employ the child and the exact hours of the day, the number of hours per day and the days per week during which the child is to be employed;
  2. Proof of the age of the child by a birth certificate or other documentary evidence of such character in such form as is prescribed by the issuing officer;
  3. A certificate of the physician of the public schools of the district in which the child resides or other licensed physician, if required by the issuing officer, showing that he has personally examined the child and has found the child in good mental and physical health and is capable of performing labor without injury to his health and mental development;
  4. A certificate of the principal of the school which the child attends or has attended giving the grades of school work completed by the child, except that for children permanently excused from attendance at school under the provisions of chapter 167, RSMo, this requirement may be waived.

Home-Schooled and Private-Schooled Youth

Parents who home-school or send their children to private school are required to fill out a work certificates for their working child. Missouri law requires that work certificates are issued and signed by the superintendent of public schools in the district where the child lives.

**VIOLATIONS - If it appears that a work certificate or work permit has been improperly granted or illegally used, or the child is being injured, or is likely to be injured by the employment, this fact shall be reported to the issuing officer who shall cancel the work certificate or work permit. Notice in writing of the cancellation, with reasons therefore, shall be transmitted immediately to the child and to the person employing the child, and thereafter it shall be unlawful for any such person to continue to employ the child. Any person violating the law is guilty of a class C misdemeanor and will be civilly liable for damages of not less than fifty dollars but not more than one thousand dollars for each violation.

Things School Officials should do to protect their students:

  • Be aware of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations that apply to your local participating businesses.
  • Make your students aware of safety and health requirements by posting an OSHA poster in your classrooms. To order call (202) 693-1888 and request publication number 2203. You should also provide each student requesting a work certificate with the brochure “Youth on the Job - Missouri Laws Protecting Young Workers”
  • Provide general safety and health training in your schools regularly.
  • Verify that the employers provide specific industry training in the workplace.
  • Be knowledgeable about Missouri child labor laws and restrictions.
  • Check all aspects of a work certificate prior to issuing it in order to ensure compliance with Missouri child labor law.

**If you feel your student’s employer is violating the child labor laws, please file a child labor complaint.