Where Can Teenagers Work in Massachusetts?

massachusetts labor laws for teens

If you own a business that relies on part-time, seasonal employees, chances are you employ teenagers. The majority of working teens in Massachusetts are employed in leisure and hospitality roles, such as waitressing, catering, and lifeguarding. Additionally, teenagers are often hired for summer jobs in retail, construction, childcare, and other sectors.

Rules and Regulations for Employing Teenagers

Before hiring workers under the age of 18, it is important to be aware of Massachusetts’ labor laws. Here is a summary of what teenage employees are prohibited from doing:

1. Obtaining an Employment Permit

If your new hire is between the ages of 14 and 17, they must obtain an employment permit in Massachusetts. As the employer, it is your responsibility to keep the original permit on file at your workplace until the minor reaches the age of 18 or their employment is terminated.

2. Working Late at Night

During the school year, employees under the age of 16 cannot work past 7 PM. From July through Labor Day, the curfew is extended to 9 PM. Similarly, teenagers under 18 are not allowed to work past 10 PM during the school year, and midnight during the summer months.

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3. Starting Work Early

Teenage employees aged 14 and 15 cannot start work before 7 AM, while 16 and 17-year-olds must not begin before 6 AM.

4. Limit on Working Hours

Teenagers under the age of 16 are not permitted to work more than 40 hours in a week, 6 days in a week, or 8 hours in one day. Even for those under 18, working hours are limited to 48 per week, 6 days per week, and no more than 9 hours per day.

5. Driving and Handling Alcohol

Teenagers, whether licensed or unlicensed, are restricted from driving vehicles or performing any job duties involving the transportation of goods. Furthermore, individuals under 18 are also prohibited from selling, handling, mixing, or serving alcoholic beverages.

6. Loading and Unloading Trucks

It is advisable to keep younger teens away from commercial vehicles and vendor shipments. Loading docks can be dangerous, and injuries such as back issues, crushed limbs, and slips and falls are all too common.

7. Working in Hazardous Environments

Jobs that involve roofing, excavation, demolition, and other hazardous tasks are restricted to adult professionals, as they require specialized training and experience.

8. Employment in Amusement Facilities

Younger teens under the age of 16 are not allowed to work in amusement places like pool halls or bowling alleys due to safety concerns. Similarly, teens under 16 are prohibited from working in barber shops.

9. Operating Machinery

Teenage employees must not operate power-driven meat slicers. This rule is in place to prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace.

10. Working in Cold Environments

Employees under the age of 16 are not permitted to work in freezers or meat coolers. This regulation ensures their safety and well-being.

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11. Ladder Usage

Younger teenagers are prohibited from working on ladders altogether. However, older teens aged 16 and 17 can work on ladders as long as they are not on a roof and are no higher than 30 feet off the ground.

12. Nighttime Supervision

Minor employees who work after 8 PM must be accompanied by an adult supervisor who is readily available at all times.

13. Meal Breaks

According to Massachusetts labor laws, employers must provide a thirty-minute meal break for each work shift that exceeds six hours. However, rest breaks are not mandatory.

For a complete list of Massachusetts labor laws regarding teenage employees, visit Mass.gov. If you have any specific job-related questions or need assistance in ensuring legal compliance, feel free to reach out to our team at 508.339.2951!

Remember, ensuring the well-being and legal compliance of your teenage employees is crucial for their safety and your peace of mind.

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