Everyone tells me that I make wonderful candy. I’d like to start up my own business out of my home and hire students to sell the candy door-to-door. Can I do that?


If you are hiring students who are under the age of sixteen, there are very specific laws that apply to door-to-door sales for profit. Minors employed in door-to-door sales are not allowed to work during school hours and must be at least twelve years old and have a work permit issued by their school. They can engage in door-to-door sales of items such as candy, cookies, flowers, newspapers, magazine subscriptions, or other merchandise or commodities, as long as those activities are within 50 miles of the minor’s place of residence. However, they must work in pairs on the same or opposite side of the street, and they must be supervised by an adult supervisor for each crew of ten or fewer minors. The minors must be within the sight or sound of the adult supervisor at least once every fifteen minutes, and they must be returned to their homes or a place of rendezvous daily after each day’s work. These laws also apply if the minors are selling merchandise in parking lots or malls.

Employers must keep in mind the distance from home that the minors are engaging in door-to-door sales. If the minors are selling the merchandise more than ten miles from the minor’s residence, the employer must register with the California Labor Commissioner, paying an initial fee of no more than $350. Registration must be renewed each year for a fee of $200.

Additionally, if a person eighteen or older transports, or provides direction or supervision during transportation of, a minor under sixteen years of age to a location more than ten miles from the minor’s residence, that person must register with the Labor Commissioner on an annual basis. The fee for registration of the individual transporting or supervising during transportation is no more than $100, with a $50 registration renewal fee each year.

As a part of this registration process, the Labor Commissioner investigates the employer to ensure that it does not propose to expose minors it hires to hazardous or unsafe working conditions, and it investigates the character and competency of the individual providing transportation or providing supervision during transportation. Failure of the employer or the person providing transportation to register is a misdemeanor. The employer and the individual can each be subject to fines for their respective failures to register ranging from $1,000 per minor for the first violation, to $2,500 per minor for a second violation, and up to $10,000 per minor for a third or subsequent violations. The applications for registration are not available online but can be obtained from the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, Licensing and Registration Unit, 9th Floor West, P.O. Box 420603, San Francisco, CA 94142.

There are some exceptions to these registration requirements. For example, parents or guardians of the minor engaged in the sales, persons acting on behalf of a bona fide charitable organization or a religious corporation or organization, and government agencies, such as schools, are not required to register.
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