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Work Permits

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Work Permits are required for youths under 18 years of age who wish to be employed, unless there is an exemption from the youth employment requirements of the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act.


  • Age 14 - Minimum age for employment in specified occupations outside school hours.
  • Age 16 - Youths may be employed in any occupation, other than a nonagricultural occupation declared to be hazardous or detrimental to the health and well being of youths.  No person under 16 years of age may be employed in any job on the premises of an establishment holding an ABC license for the on premise consumption of alcoholic beverages.  Sixteen and seventeen year olds may be employed at such establishments so long as they do not prepare, serve, dispense, or sell any alcoholic beverage.
  • Age 18 - Minimum age for employment in nonagricultural occupations declared to be hazardous or detrimental by federal or state laws.
  • Any age when working for parents so long as:

  The parents are the sole owners of the business

  The youth is not employed in a hazardous or detrimental occupation

  The youth is not allowed to handle any type of alcoholic beverage

  • A youth is not required to obtain a Work Permit if there is no employer-employee relationship. For example, volunteered services do not constitute employment.  Therefore, a youth can be a volunteer in a medical, educational, religious, or non-profit organization if no employer-employee relationship exists.
  • Work Permits are not issued to youths who work for governmental (public) employers.
  • Work Permits are not issued to youths under 14 years of age to be models.  Youths working as models in businesses covered by Child Labor have to be at least 14 years of age.
  • Work Permits may be obtained at the Orange County Department of Social Services or in the county in which the youth intends to work.  In some counties, permits may also be issued by the school that the youth attends or another designated agency.

Once the youth has obtained a blank Work Permit they must do the following:

  • Complete the sections from "Name of Youth" through "Zip Code"
  • Have the employer complete the sections "Job Description" through "Area Code Phone Number" and sign the form.  Note:  Employer must appropriately mark the ABC Permit section.
  • Have Parent/Guardian Sign
  • Take the original and a copy of the completed and signed form to Orange County Department of Social Services, along with a copy of birth certificate or other proof of age document (driver's license or driver's permit)
  • After the agency reviews the form for appropriateness of the job and age, the youth must sign the forms in the presence of the issuing officer. (NOTE: A parent or guardian need not be present when the forms are returned.)
  • Take a copy of the issued Work Permit to the employer on or before your first day of work.
  • The state requires that individuals who have dropped out of school must get a letter from the last school they attended that shows they are no longer in school.  Work permits cannot be approved without it.

Work Permits are available online at the Department of Labor website.

Frequently Asked Questions