Employing Minors

When employing minors it is important to adhere to the regulations set forth by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the United States Department of Labor. A summary of the Massachusetts Laws is noted below. For further guidance and direction in the hiring of Minors please contact your Employment Specialist.

Summary

Massachusetts** Laws Regulating Minors' Work Hours & Occupation Restrictions

Prohibited Jobs (Hazardous Orders)

  • Persons under 16 years old may NOT
  • Operate power-driven machinery (except office machines or machines in retail or food service not otherwise prohibited)
  • Cook (except on electric or gas grills that do not have open flames)
  • Operate fryolators, rotisseries, NEICO broilers, or pressure cookers
  • Operate, clean or repair power-driven food slicers, grinders or choppers
  • Perform any baking activities
  • Operate microwave ovens (except to heat food in microwave ovens with a maximum capacity of 140 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Clean kitchen surfaces that are hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Filter, transport, or dispose of cooking oil or grease hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Work in freezers or meat coolers
  • Work in a manufacturing facility (e.g., a factory)
  • Work on ladders or scaffolds
  • Work in garages, except dispensing gas and oil
  • Work in brick or lumber yards
  • Work in amusement places (e.g., pool or billiard room, or bowling alley)
  • Work in barber shops
  • Work in construction, transportation, communications, or public utilities (except doing clerical work away from heavy machinery off the job-site)
  • Work in warehouses (except doing clerical work)
  • Load or unload trucks, railroad cars, or conveyors
  • Wash windows in public or commercial buildings if the window sill is more than 10
    feet above the ground
  • Work doing laundry in a commercial laundry or dry cleaning establishment
  • Work as a public messenger
  • Work at processing operations (e.g., in meat, fish, or poultry processing or cracking nuts, bulk or mass mailing)
  • Work around boilers or in engine rooms
  • Do industrial homework
  • Work with dangerous electrical machinery or appliances
  •  Work that is determined by the Massachusetts Attorney General to be dangerous to the
    health and well-being of minors
  • Work in any of the occupations or tasks prohibited for persons under age 18

Persons under 18 years old may NOT:

  • Drive a vehicle or forklift (except golf carts in certain circumstances)
  • Operate, clean or repair power-driven meat slicers, grinders or choppers
  • Operate, clean or repair power-driven bakery machines
  • Work 30 feet or more above ground or water
  • Handle, serve, or sell alcoholic beverages
  • Use circular or band saws, or guillotine shears
  • Use power-driven woodworking machines
  • Use hoisting machines
  • Operate paper balers, paper box compactors, or other power-driven paper products machines
  • Use power-driven metal-forming, punching, or shearing machines
  • Use buffing or polishing equipment
  • Manufacture brick, tile, or kindred products
  •  Manufacture or store explosives
  • Work in excavation, wrecking, demolition, or shipbreaking
  • Work in logging, sawmilling, or mining
  • Work slaughtering, packing, or processing meat
  •  Work in railway operations
  • Work in roofing or on or about a roof
  • Work in foundries or around blast furnaces
  • Work manufacturing phosphorus or phosphorus matches
  •  Work where they are exposed to radioactive substances
  • Work as a firefighter or engineer on a boat
  • Oil or clean hazardous machinery in motion
  • Work in any job requiring the possession or use of a firearm*

Legal Work Hours for Teens in Massachusetts

Note: After 8:00 p.m., all minors must have the direct and immediate supervision of an
adult supervisor who is located in the workplace and is reasonably accessible to the
minor, unless the minor works at a kiosk, cart or stand in the common area of an enclosed
shopping mall that has security from 8:00 p.m. until the mall is closed to the public.*

14 and 15 Year Olds

Work Hours

Only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the school year
Not during school hours

Only between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. during the summer
(from July 1 through Labor Day)

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

Maximum Hours When School Is Not in Session
40 hours a week
8 hours a day
6 days a week

16 and 17 Year Olds

Work Hours*
Only between 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).

Maximum Hours of Work - Whether or Not School is in Session
48 hours a week
9 hours a day
6 days a week

* Indicates a change MA Child Labor Laws, effective date January 3, 2007.

**This is a compilation of state and federal child labor laws. The most protective laws are presented here and apply to all employers of teens including parents who may employ their children. There are additional regulations in this area not summarized here and some exceptions for employers in agricultural industries.

Questions about the state child labor laws should be directed to the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, Fair Labor and Business Practices Division (617-727-3465). Questions about federal child labor laws should be directed to the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (617-624-6700).