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How Do I Obtain a Work Permit During the COVID-19 closures?

On March 12, 2020, Governor Tony Evers signed Emergency Order #13 temporarily suspending the work permit requirement for minor student workers under 16 years of age.

Minor student workers ages under 16 are permitted to work without a work permit for employers deemed "essential" as outlined in the COVID-19 Emergency Order #12.

Employers of minor student workers under 16 must provide to DWD by way of email all necessary documentation including offer letter, parent consent letter, and verification of identity and proof of age prior to the minor workers employment. Employers can send that information to

Current laws and work rules regarding working hours restrictions and shift duration for minor student workers remain in effect.


Temporary Application Process

Effective Dates: March 26–October 26, 2020 (Work Permit Holiday)

Currently, child labor permits for minors who are 14 and 15 years old are not required during the public health emergency if the following qualifications are met:

The employer will obtain all of the following information from the minor before hiring or permitting the minor to begin work:

  • Proof of Age: Such as birth certificate, baptismal certificate, Wisconsin ID card or Wisconsin driver's license, etc.
  • Employer Letter: Written intent to hire including job duties to be performed and the hours and time of day to be worked
  • Either:
    • Written Consent: The minor's parent, guardian or court-ordered foster parent consenting to the employment
    • Counter Signature: The signature of the parent guardian or court-ordered foster parent on the employer's letter
  • Social Security Card: Copy of the minor's social security card

The employer, once obtaining the information specified in #1, will notify the Equal Rights Division that a minor will begin employment by emailing and include the following:

  • Statement that the employer has reviewed the minor's proof of age and social security information
  • Employer's intent to hire letter
  • Parental written consent or countersignature on the employer's letter

Within 30 days of conclusion of the public health emergency the employer shall file a permit application on behalf of each minor and pay the $10 permit fee at a work permit office.

The Equal Rights Division will decline to take enforcement action against an employer for hiring and permitting a minor to work without a permit if the requirements under section 1 have been satisfied for work performed through the thirtieth day after the end of the public health emergency declared in Executive Order #72.

An employer who fails to obtain work permits for minors employed during the public health emergency and make payment for permit fees will be subject to enforcement action.

Emergency Order #13 - Work Permit Holiday

Work Permit Requirements for Employment of Minors

  • A work permit is required before anyone under the age of 16 is allowed to work in any job with the exception of agriculture or domestic service work.
  • Employers must have a work permit on file for the minor being employed before they may allow the minor to begin work.
  • 16- and 17-year-old minors do NOT need to obtain a work permit prior to beginning work. Work permits will not be issued for minors ages 16 or 17.
    • State law prohibits the use of minors to perform hazardous work. Prohibited employment provisions still apply to work that 16- and 17-year-old minors can be employed to perform.
  • This law makes no changes to the requirements for minors younger than 16. Minors younger than 16 must obtain a work permit prior to beginning work, unless an exception applies.
    • There are no changes to the maximum hours or times of days that minors younger than 16 may work, or the types of work that minors younger than 16 may perform.
Proof of Minor's Age

We may accept a valid operator's license or an identification card issued by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation as proof of a minor's age. This means that we may now accept either a duly attested birth certificate, a verified baptismal certificate, or a driver’s license or photo ID card issued by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

For the Employer - Permit Fee Requirement

The employer must reimburse the $10.00 permit fee to the minor by no later than the date of the first paycheck.

Copies of the permit go to the employer and the minor, in addition to the school district where the minor is enrolled.

Additional information can be found on the Department of Workforce Development website.