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Human Resource Bulletin – Employing Minors This Summer

By Dan Gleason, Human Resource RX


Employing Minors this Summer

Now that summer’s here it’s a good time to remind everyone of the Massachusetts Child Labor Laws.

  • Generally children must be 14 to work. 
  • All minors must have a work permit.
  • Labor laws for minors require that employers pay a minor minimum wage.   As of 2010, the minimum wage in the Commonwealth was set at $8 per hour.
  • A minor is permitted to work only six days a week.
  • Summer is from July 1 through Labor Day


14 & 15 Years Olds:

  • May work between:
    •  7 am and 7 pm during the school year.
    • 7 am and 9 pm during the summer months.
    • Can work  a total of:
      • 3 hours per day and 18 hours per week during the school year.
      • 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week during the summer.


16 & 17 Year Olds:

  • May work between:
    •  6am and 10pm during the school year.  (Establishments that stop serving clients or customers at 10 pm may employ a minor till 10:15 pm.)
    • 6am and 11:30 pm (12 midnight for restaurants) during the summer
    • Can  work a total of:
      • 9 hours per day and 48 hours per week all year round


There are some exceptions that do allow children to work under the age of 14. 

9 & older may deliver newspapers with consent of their parents. 

10 & 11 may engage in limited seasonal work with permission of the federal Secretary of Labor. 

12 or older may sell certain articles for sale in public places, although selling door-to-door is prohibited until the age of 16. 

12 & 13 may work on farms with their parents or at other farms with consent of their parents.
After 8 pm a minor of any age must have direct adult supervision at the workplace. The only exception is if the minor works at a kiosk, stand or cart in an enclosed shopping mall with security on duty.

Remember that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has established these specific labor laws for the wellbeing of minors.  The failure to follow the laws may result in fines or even criminal prosecution in some cases.    For more information the Attorney General maintains a program called Labor Low Down–Youth Employment Laws.  The program provides information to employers, youth and parents about labor laws for minors in the Commonwealth which can be found at

Also remember safety always comes first.  There are many restrictions on the types of job a minor can perform and equipment a minor may use.   For a complete listing of prohibited Jobs (Hazardous Orders) go to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) website at

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