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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 Division by calling (617) 727-3465.
Questions about federal child labor laws should be directed to the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division by calling (617) 624-6700.
Prohibited Jobs (Hazardous Orders)
Persons under 14 may not work. There are a few exceptions to this such as working as news carriers, on farms, and in entertainment (with a special permit).
Persons under 16 may NOT:
Persons under 18 may NOT:
Tasks not specifically permitted by the US DOL Secretary of Labor are prohibited.
Legal work hours for teens in Massachusetts
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
Maximum Hours When School Is Not in Session
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