The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOL) is launching a new online system to help teenagers acquire working papers. All minors under the age of 18 who work in New Jersey must have an employment certificate, also known as working papers, in order to legally work.
This new online system, which launches June 1, will help streamline the process of acquiring these working papers, revamping the old system that required each teen worker to go to their school administrator to receive a paper application, and then physically go to their prospective employer and their caregiver for further documentation and approvals.
“The point is to make this process easier for employers and make it more likely for them to hire young workers,” said Labor Commissioner Rob Asaro-Angelo during a webinar hosted by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association. He added that 130,000 applications for working papers are received by DOL annually.
With the new system, employers will register online and receive an eight-digit code that they provide to every minor they want to hire. The minor then registers and completes their working papers application online, and, upon completion, the employer and the caregiver get an email instructing them to finish their sections. Once this is completed, the teen can begin working.
Schools will no longer be involved in the process, and medical verification, which used to be needed, will no longer be required.
Asaro-Angelo noted that all working papers applications submitted the old way before June 1 will still be valid, and workers will only have to fill out the online application once, if they keep the same job each year. Additionally, the application process will also be valid for out-of-state workers.
Also of note, there is a two-week window for a caregiver to respond and give approval. If there is no response within two weeks, the worker will automatically be authorized to work.
“If all parties are online at the same time, it usually takes about 10-15 minutes to complete the entire process,” said DOL Deputy Assistant Commissioner Nicholas Toth.
The data collected via the new system will be a valuable resource for DOL, and Asaro-Angelo said that eventually, the goal is to use the system as a statewide hiring hub to help both workers and employers.
“This shift will allow us to deliver important information directly to young workers and their parents, like career paths, training opportunities and apprenticeships,” he said.
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