Here are Laws Designed to Protect Young Workers

Summer job season is approaching, the Attorney General’s Office has a message with the laws around teen workers. Photo by Paul Stewart

Message from Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell:

As the summer jobs season approaches, we at the Attorney General’s Office and your superintendent’s office want to make sure that students and their parents and guardians are aware of the laws that are designed to protect young workers.

The Attorney General’s Office enforces laws relating to the employment of workers under 18 and the payment of wages, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Minimum wage: The minimum wage in Massachusetts is $15 an hour.
  • Minors younger than 14 may not work. There are few exceptions to this prohibition, including babysitting, working as a news carrier, agricultural work, or working in entertainment (with a special waiver).
  • Work permits: Workers under 18 need a new work permit for every job. The application for a work permit must be filled out by the parent/guardian, child, and employer and then submitted to the school district where the child lives or attends school. Minors who are 14 or 15 also need a physician’s signature on the work permit. For more information about work permits and to download an application, visit www.mass.gov/dols/youth.
  • Hazardous Jobs: Teens under 18 years of age may not do certain kinds of dangerous work. For a list of prohibited jobs, please visit the Attorney General’s website (www.mass.gov/ago/youthemployment).
  • 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, unless the minor works at a kiosk/cart/stand in the common area of an enclosed shopping mall with on-duty security.
  • Legal Work Hours: Massachusetts law controls how early and how late minors may work and how many hours they may work. These laws are based on the minor’s age. For more detailed information, please visit www.mass.gov/ago/youthemployment.
  • Immigration Status: These protections apply to all workers, regardless of immigration status, including undocumented workers.

Reviewing this information with your child is the first step toward ensuring a safe work experience. If you are concerned about a possible violation of these laws, please file a complaint at www.mass.gov/ago/fld, or contact the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division at 617-727-3465.

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Together, we can help our teens make a safe, informed, and successful transition into the working world.

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