New Hampshire youth are able to utilize apprenticeships, internships, volunteer positions, as well as employment as part of their learning experiences. For additional resources, check our Internships and Volunteer Opportunities page.
Youth Employment Permission Paperwork
In late June 2016, Governor Hassan signed HB 1301, a bill that allows parents, not just public school superintendents, to sign youth employment certificates for students under age 16. The new law went into effect as of August 23, 2016.
Prior to the changes by HB 1301 in 2016, RSA 276-A:5, a section of the Youth Employment Law, presented an unfair hurdle for all non-public school students. It was intended to ensure that students under 16 would not face academic hardships due to employment and the authorizer, the public school principal or district superintendent, would affirm or deny the certificate based on the student's academic history. However the statute was an arbitrary burden for students in private or charter schools, or home education programs as the local district administrations were not involved in their education.
HB 1301 (2016) recognized that parents know how their children are performing academically and what strain, if any, employment may place on their school work. The new law also acknowledges that many superintendents find it awkward to be authorizers for students they do not know.
Youth Employment Certificates and Forms
The NH Youth Employment Certificate for youth aged 12 to 15 years old is available from the Department of Labor if parents wish to issue the certificate or students may still go through their local school district office. There is a different form for youth aged 16 and 17 that also may be signed by the parent. If the activity is for sub-minimum wage or unpaid as a volunteer, there is a different form. This can be helpful for internships and other career-shadowing or Extended Learning Opportunities that may count towards class credits. As of summer 2019, the DOL finally put the forms online.
To meet youth employment law requirements, employers file a Employer's Request for Child Labor form (or the other appropriate form, links above) officially requesting the Youth Employment Certificate. If the youth is between the ages of 12 and 15, the local school district office or parents must complete the Youth Employment Certificate and the Verification of Adequate Health of Child forms and return them to the employer and DOL. These papers must be on file with the employer within three business days of starting the job. Parental permission is not needed for youth aged 18 and older.
Students have some restrictions regarding how many hours they may work during the typical school week and academic year, and how many may be at night. Homeschoolers are required to conform to the local school district for the academic calendar for school days or hours for employment hours. Administrative rules specifically refer to home educated students; refer to LAB 1001.03 "Duly Enrolled in School." The Code of Federal Regulations for the hours of work and conditions of employment allowed for 14 and 15 years olds is available here.
Youth Work Hours
In June 2022, Governor Sununu signed SB 345 into law. It allows minors not less than 14 years old to work in certain capacities where alcohol is served. It also allows 16 and 17 year olds who are still students to work up to 35 hours when school is in session 5 days per week and removes restrictions when school is not in session that often. Other parts of the youth employment law pertaining to night work and special agreements between employers and employees are repealed.
The NH Department of Labor may be reached at 603-271-3176 and their offices are at 95 Pleasant Street in Concord.
The entire statute on youth employment, RSA 276-A, is available here. The Department of Labor Youth Employment FAQ also addresses common questions.