Legal Age to Work in Massachusetts

Minimum Age to Work in MA

Massachusetts (MA) Quick Reference Table
AgeSummary of Requirements
14-15Must have employment permits. May only work between 7:00am and 7:00pm.
16-17Must have Employment permits. May only work between between 6:00am and 10:00pm
18-20Must be 18 to work in establishments that sell or serve alcohol for consumption
21Able to serve alcohol for consumption. No restrictions.

Massachusetts Child Labor Laws

The General Laws of Massachusetts allow individuals as young as 14 to assume jobs in various capacities. However, there are a number of guidelines that determine the types of jobs underage workers can hold and the amount of time they can perform their duties.

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Jobs for Minors 14 and Under

. State law allows young kids make money performing different tasks. Nine year old children are able to deliver newspapers, while individuals who are ten and eleven can work seasonal jobs such as lawn care and snow removal. At any age, minors can work on their family’s farm. However, they must be at least 12 years old and have written parental consent in order to work for a different farm.

Obtaining a Work Permit

In order to work in the State of Massachusetts, all workers under the age of 18 must obtain a work permit. Students usually get permit applications from an administrator at their school, but may have to find another way to get them when school is out. If you want to know how to get a work permit in the summer, see the following details.

  • Do you need a work permit during summer?

Yes. Massachusetts state law requires all underage workers to have an employment certificate.

  • Where can I get a work permit besides school?

Applications for work papers are available through the Department of Labor Standards website or through the local superintendent’s office.

  • How do I get a work permit during summer?

    • Choose an age-appropriate job, submit an application and receive a job offer.
    • Minors will then fill out a work permit application, then give it to their guardian and potential employer to get their signatures.
    • After completing the form, workers must return the document to the offices of the local superintendent, who will certify the permit and officially grant permission to work as a minor. 

Permits remain active for as long as the minor holds the job, and their employer must keep a copy of the document on file at their work location.

Limitations for Minors Under 16

Hours Restrictions for 14 and 15 Year Olds
Under Massachusetts child labor laws, jobs for 14 and 15 year olds carry specific hours restrictions. During the school year, minors may only work between the hours of 7:00am and 7:00pm. In the summer, they can be on the job between the hours of 7:00am and 9:00pm.

The state also places specific restrictions on the number of hours each individual youth may work. With school in session, youth labor laws allow teens a total of 18 hours of work every week, with  up to three hours accumulated on school days, eight hours on weekends and holidays, and six total work days each week. Over the summer, these hours extend to eight in a day and 40 in a week.

Where can 16 and 17 Year Olds Work in Massachusetts?

The state of Massachusetts prohibits 16 and 17 year olds to perform any kind of labor that poses a threat to their health or safety. It is illegal for these minors to perform any of the following potentially hazardous tasks.

  • Cooking over an open flame
  • Handling kitchen equipment such as slicers, knives and pressure cookers
  • Working in freezers or boiler rooms
  • Roofing
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Door-to-door sales
  • Construction
  • Warehouse work
  • Commercial transportation
  • Meatpacking and processing
  • Public messaging services
  • Electrical work

In order to comply with state guidelines, many 16 and 17 year olds in Massachusetts avoid the above occupations in favor of jobs in food service, agriculture, retail and community service positions. Others may perform tasks as car washers and golf course caddies

Hours Restrictions for Sixteen and Seventeen Year Olds

Sixteen and seventeen year olds may work between the hours of 6:00am and 10:00pm on nights leading into school days, though they may stay an extra 15 minutes to help with the end-of-day clean up. They may work between 6:00am and 11:30pm, or until midnight if their job requires later hours. On nights not preceding school days, workers may assume schedules between 6:00am and 12:00am.Individuals in this age group must have a maximum of six consecutive work days on their schedule, and may only be on the clock for up to nine hours a day and 48 hours a week.

Exceptions

The entertainment industry is one of the fields that is exempt from Massachusetts’ child labor laws. Many minors seek out careers in theater, television, radio and film, responding to casting calls that target their age range. Unless the performance is related to the child’s education, the stat’s acting Attorney General must determine whether someone under 16 years old can work in the entertainment business.

source: Massachusetts child labor laws source: Massachusetts youth work permit application

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