Legislation offered by a Rock County lawmaker would lower the age requirement for a work permit to under 16 years of age. Representative Amy Loudenbesk (R-Clinton) said her bill (AB 25) is the first of a series of initiatives she plans to work on to improve access to employment and other daily living supports for unaccompanied and homeless youth.
“Unaccompanied and homeless youth are vulnerable to human trafficking, exploitation, and abuse,” Loudenbeck said. “Providing these young people with an opportunity for legal, gainful employment so they cancomplete their education and become self-supporting adults will reduce their risk for negative outcomes.”
Under current law, a minor must obtain a work permit prior to employment. The process of obtaining a work permit includes providing a signed letter or letters from the employer and the parent or guardian and the payment of a $10 fee. The permit is employer specific, so a teen may be required to obtain multiple permits prior to reaching the age of 18.
Wisconsin is currently one of 15 states that require a work permit for residents under the age of 18. There are currently 18 states that have similar age requirements including Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. The bill does not modify current state and federal laws related to hours and times of day a minor may work, and restricted or prohibited employment for minors are not being changed.