DOL is making it easier for minors to get ‘working papers’

New, digital process to launch June 1 — and takes schools out of equation

Anyone who has ever had a child try to get a job in New Jersey — or been an employer trying to hire a minor — knows how cumbersome and inefficient the “working papers” process is.

On June 1, that’s all changing.

Any connection with your school — or your doctor — has now been eliminated from the process.

The state is launching an online portal that will streamline the process, and it comes with the promise that — down the road — teen workers will have a better understanding of their rights in the workplace and potential career paths.

Robert Asaro-Angelo. (File photo)

“This is a significant update in how minors acquire their working papers, which they need for employment in New Jersey,” Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “It’s quicker, easier, and this new process gives NJDOL a welcome opportunity to reach minors and their caregivers about career and apprenticeship opportunities, and to make minors aware of their work rights when it matters most — when they start their first job.”

Here’s how the new application works:

  1. Teenagers and their employers each go to to get started.
  2. Employers receive a unique 8-digit code when they register, which they share with every minor they hire.
  3. The minor completes the online working papers application, entering their caregiver’s name and email address, and the employer’s 8-digit code, which links the application to a specific employer.
  4. Emails prompt the employer and caregiver to complete their portions of the application and sign off. Caregivers also will be asked to upload a copy of a birth certificate, passport or other official document verifying the minor’s age.
  5. Schools will no longer be involved, but minors, employers and caregivers all play a role and will receive email notifications when it’s their turn to take action. The minor and employer will receive an email letting them know the application has been approved or rejected.
  6. The minor begins working when their application is approved.

Asaro-Angelo obviously was thrilled to make the announcement. It’s certainly another example of how the DOL is evolving.

But it’s about more than just streamlining the process for getting a job. This digitized, streamlined process, which was done in accordance with A4222/S2796, a law Gov. Phil Murphy signed last year, will enhance protections for the state’s young workers.

Asaro-Angelo said the DOL has developed a suite of online information and services specifically for young workers. It contains information on resume writing and interviewing skills, child labor laws and more. Information on wages, hours and types of work permitted for minors can be found here.

Recent stories nationwide have shown how young workers are being taken advantage of — or abused. This site could provide the information needed to help prevent that.

Down the road, Asaro-Angelo said it could be a key to workforce development.

“This is going to give us, as a department, as a state, more vision into where youth are working,” he said. “We may be able to show them potential career paths that lie ahead, whether it’s apprenticeship programs or other training programs.

“We’ve had this information, technically, on paper forms in a filing cabinet somewhere. There wasn’t really a way for us to communicate with these young workers about their jobs, about their work rights and about what might be next for them.”

While minors work throughout the year, Asaro-Angelo said he hopes the more advanced version of this system will be in place by next summer, the peak hiring time for teen workers.

For now, the DOL is getting prepared to roll out the first part of the process out. Asaro-Angelo said he’s cautiously optimistic.

“We’re not only rolling out an online version of the process — we’re rolling out a new version of the process, so we know it’s going to take time,” he said. “It’s going to be a big shift. And we feel it will be a very positive experience that will make it easier for minors to get hired and for employers to hire workers.”

Please note: Anyone who needs working papers before June 1 should visit DOL’s young worker hub to get the paper form.