Procedure for School Regarding Work Permits
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Minors under 16 years old must obtain a work permit before beginning a job. This includes home-schoolers. They must get a new permit every time they begin a new job until they reach 16 years old, even if they work for their parents.
In order to apply for a work permit, the minor must be:
Once the minor has the promise of a job, she or he must take proof of age to the office of the superintendent of schools. Social security numbers are no longer needed. Parental permission is required to work.
The superintendent's office will complete the permit and mail the forms and proof of age to the Maine Department of Labor. A copy of the Maine Work Permit Form can be downloaded here. The Department will review the permit to ensure that the minor is of legal age to work at the business and that the occupation is not hazardous. If the permit is in order, the Department will validate the forms, keep one copy and return two copies to the superintendent's office (one copy for the school, one for the employer).
Employers must have a stamped, approved work permit on file before allowing any minor under 16 years old to work. The minor cannot work until the Department of Labor approves the permit, which can take up to one week.
The Department of Labor issues permits for specific jobs with specific employers. Permits are not transferable to other jobs or employers. A minor under 16 needs a separate work permit for each place he or she works.
A minor can have one active permit during the school year and two during the summer. Upon leaving a job, the minor or the employer should return the employer copy of the permit to the Department of Labor so that it can be invalidated.
Maine compulsory education law requires all students to attend school until age 17. The local school board must grant special permission for a minor under 17 years old to drop out of school.
A minor under 16 who has been granted such permission still must have a work permit; hourly and prohibited occupations restrictions also apply.
Hourly restrictions do not apply to 16- or 17-year olds no longer enrolled in school. Occupational restrictions apply to all minors whether or not they are enrolled in school.
Minors under 17 cannot work during the hours that school is in session unless they have the school's permission for early release from school or they are in an approved program.
Legal Work Hours for Minors
Employers must keep daily time records for minors. The records must show what time the minor began work, total hours worked, and what time the minor finished for the day.
Child labor laws specify how early, how late and how long minors can work. See below for details.
Following are the hours and times minors may work:
A. Minors under 16 years old
B. 16- and 17-Year Olds (enrolled in school, including home-school)
The Maine law which limits hours for 16- and 17-year-old workers includes several exceptions. Federal law does not limit work hours for 16- and 17-year olds.
Work hours (may work)
Maximum hours (may work)
Students enrolled in an approved alternative education plan or an approved cooperative/vocational education program can work the daily or weekly hours required for the program without having those hours count toward the regular maximums allowed. For example, a 17-year-old student could work 15 hours under a cooperative/vocational education plan plus the 24 hours that the law would normally allow for a student under 18 years old.
The following are exempt from all of the State hourly restrictions:
Minimum Age for Employment
Maine law states at what age minors may work in specific industries. Minimum ages under Federal law are different. Contact the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division at 780-3344 (Portland) or 945-0330 (Bangor) for details.
Minors Who are 16 or 17: May work in nonhazardous jobs in manufacturing establishments, bakeries, laundries, dry-cleaning establishments and garages. They may also work in hotels; motels; commercial places of amusement, including skating rinks, circuses, arcades, bowling alleys and pool halls; and in all of the industries allowed for younger minors.
Minors Who are 15: May work in nonhazardous jobs in dining rooms, kitchens, lobbies and offices of hotels and motels, but they are prohibited from performing room service, making deliveries to the hotel rooms or entering the hallways to those rooms.
Minors Who are 14: May work in nonhazardous jobs in restaurants (if not on the premises of a hotel/motel), in sporting and overnight camps, stores, filling stations, ice cream stands and laundromats. They also may work at outside occupations on the grounds of a hotel or motel, but not if the minor must stay away from home overnight.
Minors Who are Under 14: There is no minimum age under Maine law to work in nonhazardous jobs in children's camps, hospitals, nursing homes, municipalities, domestic work in or about a private home or in the planting, cultivating or harvesting of field crops in agriculture. (Federal law does not allow minors under 14 to work in businesses under their jurisdiction.)
Minors of any age may work for their parents in non-hazardous jobs in non-mechanical and nonmanufacturing settings in retail or service industries (excluding hotels and motels) if they are supervised directly by one or both parents. Work permit requirements, hours of work, and prohibited occupations apply to minors even if they work for their parents.
Federal laws may not allow parental exceptions. Contact the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division at 780-3344 (Portland) or 945-0330 (Bangor) for details.
Maine Prohibited Occupations
Rules Governing Hazardous Occupations for Minors under Eighteen
Effective Date: May 14, 2001
Coverage: These rules apply to all nonagricultural employment and nonemployment situations. Non-employment situations include, but are not limited to, legitimate training and volunteer programs that ensure the safety and wellbeing of minors. These rules do not apply to minors in public and approved private schools where mechanical equipment is installed and operated primarily for the purpose of instruction.
A. Minors Under 16 Years of Age
Minors under the age of 16 may not be employed in the following occupations:
a. Maintenance and repair of public highways;
b. All roofing occupations;
c. All trenching and excavation operations;
B. 16- and 17-Year Olds
Minors who are 16 and 17 years old may not be employed in the following occupations:
NOTE: The Maine Bureau of Liquor Enforcement prohibits teens under 18 from handling, serving, or selling alcoholic beverages. Exceptions: 15-year olds can handle liquor (for example, stocking and carrying) but not serve or sell it and 17-year olds can serve or sell liquor if a supervisor 21 or older is present. For more information, call Liquor Enforcement at 624-8745.
For more detailed information or questions please refer the following Resources
Child labor laws, wages, hiring and firing:
Maine Department of Labor (enforces Maine child labor laws)
Bureau of Labor Standards
Wage and Hour Division
(TTY: Maine relay 711)
Web site: www.Maine.gov/labor/bls
Revised: November 2016 (bjo)