A homeschooling family may decide that a child's employment will provide valuable work experience, introduce a new vocational skill or simply allow the child to earn some pocket money. Many of New Jersey's child labor laws apply to all minors regardless of whether they attend public school or receive their educations at home. Before a homeschooled child starts a new job, the family should understand the state's child labor laws and obtain New Jersey working papers for the child.
General Child Labor Laws in New Jersey
The Department of Labor and Workforce Development oversees employment in New Jersey, including the work of minors under the age of 18. The department explains the child labor laws set by the New Jersey Statutes Annotated and the provisions of the state's Administrative Code. Many child labor laws apply to all minors regardless of whether they attend public school, go to private school or receive homeschooling. In general, New Jersey does not allow employment of children under the age of 16, though the state does make some exceptions for certain times of year such as summer vacations and for specific fields including agriculture or theatrical performance. New Jersey also limits the number of work hours per week and prohibits child employment in certain industries.
Working Papers in New Jersey
The child's prospective employer must receive an employment certificate before the child begins work. The employment certificate, also known as the child's New Jersey work permit or working papers, signifies permission from the state for the child to participate in work activities. New Jersey issues separate certificates for employment during the school year and summer vacations. Issuance of an employment certificate requires confirmation of the job offer and a job description provided by the employer. The child must also provide proof of age to show compliance with age requirements in New Jersey's child labor laws. Furthermore, the child must participate in a physical examination performed by the local school district's doctor or a doctor chosen by the child's family.
Procedures for Homeschooled Students
New Jersey school districts generally handle requests for working papers to allow child employment. When a homeschooled student wishes to obtain a work permit, the child's family should contact the local school district in which the family resides. The school district should have a designated official who processes requests for working papers. Though the child does not attend a public school facility in the district, the school district should still be able to further direct the homeschooling family regarding the procedures to qualify a child for working papers. If the child has received a job offer from an employer not located in the school district where the child resides, the family may need to obtain a work permit from the school district in which the child plans to work.
Responsibilities of School Districts
Each school district has a responsibility under New Jersey law to review applications for children's work permits. The original permit, if granted by the school district's designated officer, goes to the child's employer. The school district must keep a copy of the issued permit on file even if the student does not attend school in the district due to homeschooling. In addition, the school district must provide a copy of the issued permit to the New Jersey Department of Labor.