Teenagers develop basic skills such as being responsible, working with others and taking direction by working summer and part-time jobs. One thing you can do as a parent to help guide your minor child through the hiring process is to help them get the required documentation. In Connecticut, minors usually need working papers (Form ED-301) before they can start most jobs. The following guide will help you learn how to get working papers for minors.

Why All the Paperwork?

Life is busy, and sometimes it seems like there is just too much bureaucracy and paperwork in life, doesn’t it? Why all the hassle just to start a job, you might ask yourself. After all, adults only need a few pieces of identification to start their jobs, right?

Laws are stricter for minors to work, and for good reason, too. In a dark period of American history before FLSA laws went into effect in 1938, employers used children as young as eight for cheap labor. Also, this young pool of laborers often worked a grueling 72 hours a week.

Child Labor Laws Protect Minors and Employers

Although it may be true that a lot of regulations and paperwork are part of our lives, obtaining all the required documentation is essential when it comes to adhering to child labor laws properly.

Labor laws today, when it comes to employing minors, are two-fold and protect both minors and employers equally. In the case of minors, the law safeguards them from performing harmful or dangerous tasks at work. On the other hand, an employer is safeguarded from placing a minor in a job that could potentially be based on falsified information.

You Don’t Need Working Papers for These Jobs

Before you get too entrenched in getting working papers, know this: occupations in the list below don’t require them for 14 and 15-year-olds working in Connecticut.

  • Acting
  • Agriculture
  • Banks
  • Hospitals (no food service or laundry)
  • Licensed day camps
  • Professional offices (lawyers & CPAs)
  • Street trades (babysitting, newspaper delivery, shoe shining etc.)
  • Nursing homes (except laundry & food service)
  • Hotels & motels (except laundry & food service)
  • Insurance companies
  • Municipalities (library attendants, parks & rec depts)
  • Household chores & yardwork for private homeowners

If the conditions above do not apply to the job your teen is considering, see the following guidelines and procedures in this article for employment of minors in Connecticut.

Obtaining Working Papers

The first step in the process is obtaining a Certificate of Age Form, or Form ED-301, also commonly called working papers. Form ED-301 is used for verifying a minor child’s legal age, and that they are legally compliant for working at this occupation.

The Connecticut Board of Education provides Form ED-301, and they issue it to:

  • Minors who are aged 16 or 17 seeking nonhazardous jobs in any amusement, mechanical, manufacturing, mechanical, service recreation, mercantile or restaurant establishment.
  • Minors who are 15-year-old and older who want to work at nonhazardous jobs in mercantile establishments.
  • Minors 14 years of age or older who desire a job as a caddie or wish to work in a pro shop at a private or municipal golf course.
  • Students who are aged 16 and 17 enrolled currently within a CSDE-approved Career Pathways/COOP Work Education
  • Program, and who may be allocated to hazardous worksite experiences as defined by the Connecticut Department of Labor.

According to the Connecticut State Department of Education, you can make requests for working papers through “the superintendent of schools of any local or regional school district, their designated agents, or the supervisory agent of a nonpublic school.”

These representatives shall supply working papers to any resident minor seeking employment when all the following required criteria are met.

Criteria for the Issuance of Form ED-301

Minors who request Certificate of Age Form ED-301 issuance must first:

  • Be between the ages of 14 to 17 years of age, dependent upon the type of occupation.
  • Give documentation of their age or a Notarized Affidavit of Parent.
  • Give written promise of a job that is signed by their employer-to-be;
  • Provide an approval card for an apprenticeship if applicable.
  • Provide Certification Form LED 75-1 if they are enrolled as a student in a Cooperative Work Education Program/ CSDE-approved Career Pathways and is allocated to a worksite experience in possibly hazardous experiences defined by the Connecticut Department of Labor.

Appear in person at the nonpublic school administrative office where the minor student is enrolled or at the local education agency (LEA).

Issuing Agencies Minimum Requirements

This section is mainly for issuing agencies, but it is good for parents and the minor child to read over to ensure that all the necessary and correct documentation from the issuing agents is provided.
All agents that issue the Certificate of Age Form ED-301 must adhere to the following minimum requirements:

  • Supporting documents must be authentic.
  • Supporting documents must be unaltered, including no erasures, excessive fading causing illegibility, whiteout etc.
  • The minor must reach the exact age required by law – under no circumstances should working papers be issued before the minor reaches the required age.
  • The Certificate of Age Form ED-301 has to be completed in triplicate, providing one copy for the minor child, one copy for their employer, and the third copy is for the agent to file.
  • The Certificate of Age Form ED-301 has to be signed by the agent within the proper place.
  • The agent must maintain files for every minor child who has applied for or has received working papers (Certificate of Age Form ED-301).
  • The minor child’s file should contain one copy of the signed Certificate of Age Form ED-301, one copy of the Promise of Employment signed by the minor, and other supporting documents, such as a birth certificate, driver’s license, baptismal certificate etc.
  • The agent must follow the criteria for issuing a Certificate of Age Form ED-301, as noted in the proceeding section Criteria for Issuing Certificate of Age Form ED-301.

Providing Authentic Evidence of Age

There are numerous legally acceptable documents as proof of age, and the following documents listed below are ranked in ascending order of preference. For instance, a minor’s birth certificate is preferred over their driver’s license:

  • A birth certificate issued by an official of the town.
  • A baptismal certificate that has the date and place of birth on it.
  • Hospital certificate imprinted with the name of the hospital where the minor was born.
  • Minor’s attending physician-provided certificate.
  • Census record (U.S.) supported through a Notarized Affidavit of Parent.
  • A Bible record that exists five years before submission.
  • Driver’s license.
  • Passport.
  • Official school records.

Minors born in a foreign country that lack documentation that serves as proof of age may use the following additional sources:

  • A vaccination certificate.
  • Immigration identification card with month, day and birth year.
  • United States immigration record with month, day and birth year.
  • Citizenship papers either of the parent or minor child.

Notarized Affidavit of Parent

In Connecticut, a Notarized Affidavit of Parent can occasionally be used if a minor has a written Promise of Employment but doesn’t have the required evidence of age document. The minor’s parent, in this case, must swear to the minor’s correct day, month and year of their child’s date of birth in a notarized affidavit. This sworn affidavit may then be used as the authentic documentation of their child’s age.

Written Promise of Employment

The written Promise of Employment the minor child receives from their potential employer must state unequivocally what the minor’s job will be, and what specific, associated tasks they will be doing. Vague job descriptions such as general worker, laborer, errand person, etc. are not permissible on the Promise.

Alterations or changes appearing on the written Promise of Employment should be authenticated and verified by their potential employer’s signature adjacent (nearby) to the change(s).

A Promise of Employment should be written on the letterhead of the potential employer. If the prospective employer does not have letterhead, the following substitutions are considered acceptable:

  • Name, address and telephone number of the potential employer’s place of business stamped or typewritten at the top of the written Promise of Employment; or
  • Name, address and telephone number of the potential employer’s place of business typewritten below the signature of the employer; or
  • Name, address and telephone number of the potential employer’s place of business legibly handwritten below the signature of the potential employer.

Checklist for Working Papers

The following checklist may help parents and minors residing in Connecticut who are collecting the needed documentation for working papers. Remember, you MUST have working papers before starting your job.

  • Are you at least 16 years of age or are 15 years of age for retail firms during vacation weeks?
  • Do you possess your potential employer’s written Promise of Employment?
  • Do you possess proof of age? For example, a birth certificate, baptismal certificate, passport or other document defined in the Authentic Evidence of Age section?
  • Do you have your Social Security card?
  • As defined by Connecticut’s law and regulations, is the job permitted for your age?
  • As defined by Connecticut’s law and regulations, is the industry permitted for your age?
  • Are time & hours you’ll be working permitted by law?

If you answered “YES” to all the questions, take your proof of age and Promise of Employment to the Superintendent of Schools or your public high school in your town.