Is Your Company Prepared for Teen Employees?

Employment Attorneys

Posted in on July 2, 2022

As the summer months approach employers will see an influx in applications by teens seeking summer employment. It is surprising how many companies employ teen worker without understanding the Child Labor Laws in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Child Labor Laws apply to all child workers ages 14 to 18; children under the age of 14 are not eligible to work, with few exceptions such as working as a news carrier, on a farm, or in entertainment (with a special permit).

minimum age to work in masaachusetts

The Massachusetts Child Labor Laws require the following to ensure a safe and positive work experience for minors:

Minimum wage. As of January 2022 the minimum wage in Massachusetts is $14.25 an hour.

Massachusetts Work Permits. ALL workers under 18 years old need a new work permit for every job. The application for a work permit must be filled out by the parent or guardian, the minor, employer and submitted to the school district where the child lives or attends school (the child does not need to be attending school in the district). Minors who are 14 or 15 also need a physician’s signature. The purpose of the work permit is to certify the age of the child worker.

Hazardous Jobs. Teens under 18 years of age are prohibited from doing certain kinds of dangerous work. Such hazards include, but are not limited to, operating, cleaning, or repairing power-driven meat slicers, grinders, or choppers; driving a vehicle, forklift, or work assist vehicle; handling, serving or selling alcoholic beverages. Teens under 16 are prohibited from even more tasks that are considered dangerous such as performing any baking activities; operating fryolators, rotisseries, NEICO broilers, or pressure cookers; working in freezers or meat coolers; working on or using ladders, scaffolds, or other substitutes; and working in amusement places (e.g., pool or billiard room, or bowling alley), or barber shops.

Supervision. After 8 p.m., all workers under 18 must have the direct and immediate supervision of an adult supervisor who is located in the workplace and is reasonably accessible to the minor.

Legal Work Hours for Minors. Massachusetts law controls how early and how late minors may work as well as how many hours they may work per day and per week, based on their age. The maximum hours of work for minors are as follows:

For Minors Under 16:

Maximum hours when school is in session:

  • 18 hours a week
  • 3 hours a day on school days
  • 8 hours a day Saturday, Sunday, holidays
  • 6 days a week
  • Only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the school year

Maximum hours when school is not in session:

  • 40 hours a week
  • 8 hours a day
  • 6 days a week
  • Only between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. during the summer (from July 1 through Labor Day)

For Minors Ages 16 and 17:

Maximum hours of work for minors, whether or not school is in session:

  • 48 hours a week
  • 9 hours per day
  • 6 days a week
  • 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. (on nights preceding a regularly scheduled school day) – if the establishment stops serving clients or customers at 10:00 p.m., the minor may be employed until 10:15 p.m.
  • Only between 6 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. (on nights not preceding a regularly scheduled school day).
  • Exception for restaurants and racetracks: only between 6 a.m. and 12:00 midnight (on nights not preceding a regularly scheduled school day).

If you are an employer that hires workers under the age of 18 make sure that you (and your staff) are well versed in the child labor laws in Massachusetts, including but not limited to restrictions involving child workers and the paperwork required for workers under the age of 18.  The employment lawyers at Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C. are available to meet with you and to review your employment practices. – Susan M. Molinari.