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November 9, 2010

First to Allow Homeschool Parents to Issue Work Certificates

On the Air

Listen to HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff discuss these changes in detail on Wednesday, November 10, beginning at 4:40 p.m. Central Time on KJSL 630 AM, the “Dr. Gina Show.”

In an exciting nationwide first, Missouri now allows parents to issue work certificates for their own children if they follow certain requirements.

Formerly, parents had to work through the public school bureaucracy. This often involved red tape, delays, and inconvenience. And it was illogical. How would the public school system be in a position to know whether the proposed job would conflict with the student’s homeschool program?

But now a parent can be the “issuing officer” for a work certificate if the various requirements are met. HSLDA has posted an article explaining all requirements, and a blank work certificate form, under our “forms and resources” section for the state of Missouri (available to members only). This article explains who needs a certificate, how to issue or obtain one, what hours and days of work are allowed, the difference between a work “certificate” and a work “permit” (they are not the same!) and related information.

There is nothing particularly difficult about the various requirements, but there are quite a few! A parent wanting to issue a work certificate for his own child should take the time to read the HSLDA article, or educate himself carefully some other way.

Missouri child labor laws are primarily found in chapter 294 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri. The specific statute that deals with parents issuing work certificates is §294.045.

Public school superintendents continue to have authority to issue work certificates for homeschooled children, and parents may choose this option if they wish.

In a related breakthrough, teens who want to work are no longer bound under state law by one monolithic public school schedule. Revised Statutes of Missouri §294.045.4 says that a child’s work hour limitations shall be based on the calendar of the school the child actually attends. For homeschool families, this generally means their own homeschool calendar. This is important to keep in mind whether you issue the work certificate yourself, or you ask the local superintendent to issue it.

Families for Home Education (FHE) deserves the credit for these important changes. FHE has spearheaded this, and many other changes that are very helpful to homeschoolers. If you are not yet a member of FHE, please consider supporting them.