Maine Child Labor Laws


Maine stamp

Maine child labor laws set forth the rules and limitations regarding the days and time children under the age of 18 years old may work in Maine. They also clarify and limit the types of work children under the age of 14 and youth who are 14, 15, 16, and 17 year olds may work. It is also important to remember that businesses and youth workers must comply with the federal child labor laws set forth in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Below is information about Maine child labor law rules and limitations.

How old do you have to be to work in Maine?

Under Maine child labor laws, youth must be 14-years-old or older to get a job and work in Maine with a few exceptions including:

agricultural work in the planting, cultivating or harvesting of field crops or other agricultural work not in direct contact with hazardous machinery or hazardous substances
work in school lunch programs limited to serving food and cleaning up dining rooms
work in a business solely owned by the minor’s parents so long as the work performed is not hazardous

ME Statutes 26: 771 to 26: 786, ME Department of Labor


What days can a minor work in Maine?

Maine child labor laws do not limit the days of the week youth may work in Maine. However, Maine rules limit the times during a day a minor may work. ME Statutes 26: 771 to 26: 786, ME Department of Labor


What times during the day can a minor work in Maine?

The times during a day a minor may work in Maine varies based on 1) whether they are under 16 year old or not, and 2) whether the work will be during school weeks or non-school weeks.

For youth that are 16-years-old and 17-years old, Maine child labor laws restrict the times they work on days before school days to 7 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. and days before non-school days to 5 a.m. to 12 a.m.

AgeDay before School DayDay before Non-School Day
What times can a 16-year-old work?7 a.m. to 10:15 p.m.5 a.m. to 12 a.m.
What times can a 17-year-old work?7 a.m. to 10:15 p.m.5 a.m. to 12 a.m.

For youth that are 14-years-old and 15-years old, Maine child labor laws restrict the times during the day in which they work depending whether school is in session, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or school is not in session, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

AgeSchool Weeks
(Labor Day to June 1)
Non-School Weeks
(June 1 to Labor Day)
What times can a 14-year-old work?7 a.m. until 7 p.m.7 a.m. until 9 p.m.
What times can a 15-year-old work?7 a.m. until 7 p.m.7 a.m. until 9 p.m.

ME Statutes 26: 771 to 26: 786, ME Department of Labor

The FLSA also restricts the how many times a youth may work each workday. When Maine child labor laws are more restrictive than the federal laws, Maine’s rules apply.

Max Hours Work Each DaySchool daysNon-school days
How many hours can a 14-year-old work each day?38
How many hours can a 15-year-old work each day?38
How many hours can a 16-year-old work each day?No restrictionNo restriction
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each day?No restrictionNo restriction

How many hours can a minor work each day in Maine?

Moreover, under Maine child labor laws, children that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old may work no more than 1) 6 hours on any day when school is in session except the final scheduled school day of a school week, 2) 8 hours on the the final scheduled school day of a school week, and 3) 10 hours on any day non-school day.

Max Hours Work Each DaySchool days except final scheduled school day of a weekFinal scheduled school day of a weekNon-school days
How many hours can a 16-year-old work each day?6810
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each day?6810

Moreover, under Maine child labor laws, children that are 14-years-old and 15-years-old may work no more than 3 hours on a school day and 8 hours on a non-school day.

Max Hours Work Each DaySchool daysNon-school days
How many hours can a 14-year-old work each day?38
How many hours can a 15-year-old work each day?38
How many hours can a 16-year-old work each day?No restrictionNo restriction
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each day?No restrictionNo restriction

ME Statutes 26: 771 to 26: 786, ME Department of Labor


How many hours can a minor work each week in Maine?

Moreover, under Maine child labor laws, children that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old may work no more than 1( 24 hours during a school week with 3 or more scheduled days and 2) 50 hours during non-school weeks, school weeks with less than 3 scheduled school days, and during the first and last week of the school calendar.

Max Hours Worked Each WorkweekSchool weeks with 3 or more scheduled daysNon-school weeks and school weeks with fewer than 3 scheduled school days
How many hours can a 16-year-old work each day?2450
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each day?2450

Moreover, under Maine child labor laws, children that are 14-years-old and 15-years-old may work no more than 18 hours during a school week and 40 hours during non-school weeks.

Max Hours Worked Each WorkweekSchool Weeks
(Labor Day to June 1)
Non-School Weeks
(June 1 to Labor Day)
How many hours can a 14-year-old work each day?1840
How many hours can a 15-year-old work each day?1840

ME Statutes 26: 771 to 26: 786, ME Department of Labor

The FLSA also restricts the how many hours a youth may work each workweek. When Maine child labor laws are more restrictive than the federal laws, the Maine rules apply.

Max Hours Worked Each Workweek
Federal Law
School Weeks
(Labor Day to June 1)
Federal Law
Non-School Weeks
(June 1 to Labor Day)
How many hours can a 14-year-old work each week?1840
How many hours can a 15-year-old work each week?1840
How many hours can a 16-year-old work each week?No restrictionNo restriction
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each week?No restrictionNo restriction

What kinds of jobs can a minor work in Maine?

In Maine, youth under 16 years old may not work in the following jobs, except as part of a regular work-training program.

Any manufacturing occupationAny mining occupationAny processing occupation except those allowed in retail, food service, gasoline service stations, and other venues not prohibited by federal law
Motor vehicle driving of any kind and outside helperOperation or tending of hoisting apparatus or of any power-driven machinery other than non-hazardous office machines or machines in retail, food service and gasoline service establishments that are allowed by federal lawConstruction occupations involving maintenance and repair of public highways, all roofing occupations, and all trenching and excavation operations
All work in boiler or engine roomsOutside window washing that involves working from window sills and all work involving the use of ladders, scaffolds or their substitutesCooking and baking except at soda fountains, lunch counters, snack bars, cafeteria serving counters, and other venues allowed by federal law
Occupations which involve operating, setting up, adjusting, cleaning, oiling, or repairing power driven food slicers and grinders, food choppers and cutters and bakery type mixersAll work in freezers and meat coolersOccupations involving the use of power driven mowers or cutters, including the use of chain saws
All warehousing occupations, including the loading and unloading of trucks and use of conveyersAll welding, brazing or soldering occupationsOccupations involving the use of toxic chemicals and paints
Selling door-to-door, with some exceptions, or work in a traveling youth crewAll occupations on amusement rides, including ticket collection or salesAny placement at the scene of a fire, explosion, or other emergency response situation
All occupations that are expressly prohibited for sixteen and seventeen-year-old minors by state or federal lawWork as a junior firefighter performing any hazardous duties

In Maine, youth under 18 years old may not work in the following hazardous jobs except as discussed in the sections below.

Manufacturing and storing explosivesMotor vehicle driving on public roadways and outside helperAll mining occupations
Power-driven woodworking machinesPower-driven hoisting apparatusPower-driven metal forming, punching and shearing machines
Slaughtering or meat packing, processing or rendering occupations including meat slicers, grinders and choppersPower-driven paper products machinesManufacturing brick, tile, and kindred products
Power-driven circular saws, band saws, and guillotine shearsWrecking and demolition occupationsRoofing operations
Excavation operationsAll occupations in places having nude entertainmentPlacement at the scene of a fire, explosion or other emergency with some exceptions
Gas or electric welding, brazing, burning or cutting if done in conjunction with other hazardous occupation such as wrecking, demolition, and shipbreaking operationsWork that involves entry into a confined space where the U.S. OSHA regulations require a permit entry systemWorking at heights where the U. S. OSHA regulations require special precautions or personal protective equipment
All occupations in registered dispensaries of marijuana for medical use and in establishments that cultivate, produce or sell marijuana or products in which marijuana is an ingredient or in recreational marijuana social clubsPerform particularly hazardous job duties as a junior firefighter

In Maine, youth who are 17 years old may drive automobiles and trucks on public roads as part of their job on an occasional and incidental basis if all the following requirements are met:

  • The automobile or truck does not exceed 6,000 pounds gross vehicle weight
  • The driving is limited to daylight hours
  • holds a state license valid for the type of driving involved
  • has successfully completed a state-approved driver education course and has no record of any moving violations at the time of hire
  • The driving takes place within a thirty (30) mile radius of the minor’s place of employment
  • The automobile or truck is equipped with a seat belt for the driver and any passengers and the employer has instructed the youth that the seat belts must be used when driving the vehicle
  • The driving may not involve: towing vehicles; route deliveries or route sales; transportation for hire of property, goods, or passengers; urgent, time-sensitive deliveries; transporting more than three passengers, including employees or the employer; more than two trips away from the primary place of employment in any single day to deliver the employer’s goods to a customer (other than urgent, time-sensitive deliveries which are prohibited); more than two trips away from the primary place of employment in a single day to transport passengers, other than employees of the employer

Youth who are 16 or 17 year of age who apprentices or student learners may work in the following hazardous occupations:

The operation of power-driven woodworking, paper products, and metal-forming, -punching and -shearing machinesSlaughtering or meatpacking, processing or renderingOperation of power-driven circular saws, band saws, and guillotine shears
Roofing operationsExcavation operationsWelding, brazing, and soldering

ME Statutes 26: 771 to 26: 786, ME Department of Labor, FLSA


Does a teen need to have a work permit or certificate to work in Maine?

Maine child labor laws require 14-15 year old workers, including home schoolers, to obtain an work permit before work in Maine. Also, a new work permit is required before the teen begins working for a new business.

Teens who are 14 or 15 years old must fill out a work permit application and then have the prospective employer fill out the portion of the application. The teen must also be signed by the teens parent or guardian. Then, the teen must present the completed application and proof of age to the superintendent of their school who or an authorized issuing offer will either sign the application or reject it. If accepted, the superintended will then forward the signed application to the ME Department of Labor who will validate and approve the permit. The superintended will then be responsible to provide a copy of the permit to the teen’s employer. ME Statutes 26: 771 to 26: 786, ME Department of Labor


Are youth workers entitled to rest breaks or meal breaks?

In Iowa, employers are required to provide minors with a unpaid meal period lasting 30 minutes or more if the minor works 6 consecutive hours in a shift. ME Statutes 26: 771 to 26: 786, ME Department of Labor

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