Massachusetts Child Labor Laws


Massachusetts stamp

Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts. 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 Massachusetts child labor law rules and limitations.

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

Under Massachusetts child labor laws, youth must be 14-years-old or older to get a job and work in Massachusetts with a few exceptions including working as news carriers, on farms, and in entertainment (with a special permit).

MA Office of Labor and Workforce Development – Minor Work Laws


What days can a minor work in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts child labor laws do not limit the days of the week youth may work in Massachusetts. However, minors may only work 6 days each workweek. Morevoer, Massachusetts rules limit the times during a day a minor may work. MA Office of Labor and Workforce Development – Minor Work Laws


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

The times during a day a minor may work in Massachusetts 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, Massachusetts child labor laws restrict the times during the day in which they work if they work the day before a school day, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. (10:30 p.m. if the business stops serving customers at 10:00 p.m.). For days not preceding a regularly scheduled school days, 16 and 17 year olds may work between 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. unless they work for restaurants or racetracks which allows the teens to work until 12:00 a.m.

For youth that are 14-years-old and 15-years old, Massachusetts 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.
AgeDay before a School DayDay before a Non-School Day
What times can a 16-year-old work?6 a.m. to 10 p.m. except
10:30 p.m. if business closes at 10 p.m.
6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. except
to 12:00 a.m. for restaurants or racetracks
What times can a 17-year-old work?6 a.m. to 10 p.m. except
10:30 p.m. if business closes at 10 p.m.
6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
to 12:00 a.m. for restaurants or racetracks

The FLSA also restricts the times during the day in which they work depending whether the times are during school weeks, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or non-school weeks, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. When Massachusetts child labor laws are more restrictive than the federal laws, the Massachusetts rules apply.

AgeFederal Law
School Weeks
(Labor Day to June 1)
Federal Law
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.
What times can a 16-year-old work?No restrictionNo restriction
What times can a 17-year-old work?No restrictionNo restriction

MA Office of Labor and Workforce Development – Minor Work Laws


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

Under Massachusetts child labor laws, children that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old may work no more than 9 hours each day regardless of whether is a school day or non-school day.

Moreover, under Massachusetts 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.

AgeSchool DayNon-School Day
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?99
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each day?99

MA Office of Labor and Workforce Development – Minor Work Laws

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

Max Hours Work Each DayFederal Law
School days
Federal Law
Non-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 week in Massachusetts?

Under Massachusetts child labor laws, children that are 16-years-old and 17-years-old may work no more than 48 hours each workweek regardless of whether is a school day or non-school day.

Also, children that are 14-years-old and 15-years-old may work no more than 18 hours in a workweek during school weeks and 40 hours during non-school weeks.

Max Hours Worked Each Week
School Weeks
(Labor Day to June 1)

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?4848
How many hours can a 17-year-old work each week?4848

MA Office of Labor and Workforce Development – Minor Work Laws

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

Age – Max Hours Worked Each Week
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 Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, youth under 16 years old may not work in the following jobs.

Operate, clean, or repair power-driven machinery (except office machines or machines for retail, cleanup, or kitchen work not otherwise prohibitedFilter, transport, or dispose of cooking oil or grease hotter than 100 degrees FahrenheitWork in barber shops
Cook (except on electric or gas grills that do not have open flames)Work in freezers or meat coolersWork in door-to-door street sales, including work as a sign waiver (except directly outside employer establishment)
Operate fryolators, rotisseries, NEICO broilers, or pressure cookersWork in a manufacturing facility or occupation (e.g., in a factory, as an assembler)Work in construction, transportation, communications, or public utilities (except doing clerical work away from heavy machinery off the job site)
Operate clean or repair power-driven food slicers, grinders, choppers, processors, cutters, and mixersWork on or use ladders, scaffolds, or their substitutesWork in warehouses (except doing clerical work)
Perform any baking activitiesWork in garages, except dispensing gas and oilLoad or unload trucks, railroad cars, or conveyors
Operate microwave ovens (except to heat food in microwave ovens with a maximum capacity of 140 degrees Fahrenheit)Work in brick or lumber yardsRide in or on a motor vehicle (except in passenger seat if wearing a seatbelt)
Clean kitchen surfaces that are hotter than 100 degrees FahrenheitWork in amusement places (e.g., pool or billiard room, or bowling alley)Work doing laundry in a commercial laundry or dry cleaning establishment
Work as a public messengerDo industrial homeworkWork in any of the occupations or tasks prohibited for persons under age 18
Work at processing operations (e.g., in meat or fish, poultry catching, cooping, cracking nuts, bulk or mass mailing)Work with dangerous electrical machinery or appliancesEngage in work that is determined by the Massachusetts Attorney General to be dangerous to the health and well-being of minors
Work around boilers or in engine rooms

In Massachusetts, youth under 16 years old may not work in the following jobs.

Drive a vehicle, forklift, or work assist vehicle (except golf carts in certain circumstances)Operate or load power-driven balers, compactors, or paper processing machinesWork in railway operations
Ride as a passenger on a forkliftUse power-driven metal-forming, punching, or shearing machinesWork in roofing or on or about a roof
Operate, clean, or repair power-driven meat slicers, grinders, or choppersUse buffing or polishing equipmentWork in foundries or around blast furnaces
Operate, clean, or repair power-driven bakery machines (except for certain countertop models and pizza dough rollers)Manufacture brick, tile, or kindred productsWork manufacturing phosphorus or phosphorus matches
Work 30 feet or more above ground or waterManufacture or store explosivesWork where they are exposed to radioactive substances
Handle, serve, or sell alcoholic beveragesWork in excavation, wrecking, demolition, or shipbreakingWork as a firefighter or engineer on a boat
Use circular, chain, or band saws; guillotine shears; wood chippers; and abrasive cutting discsWork in forest fire fighting, forest fire prevention, timber track operations, and forestry serviceOil or clean hazardous machinery in motion
Use power-driven woodworking machinesWork in logging, sawmilling, or miningWork in any job requiring the possession or use of a firearm
Use, service, drive, or work from hoisting machinesWork slaughtering, packing, or processing meat and poultry

MA Office of Labor and Workforce Development – Minor Work Laws

Under the FLSA child labor laws, employees under 18 years old may not work in jobs that are considered hazardous. Here is a list of the jobs that are considered hazardous.

manufacturing or storing explosives or articles containing explosive componentsoperating sawmills, lath mills, shingle mills, or cooperage stock millsoperating power-driven meat-processing machines and occupations involving slaughtering, meat and poultry packing, processing, or renderingoperating power-driven woodworking machines
motor-vehicle driver and outside helperwork involving exposure to radioactive substances and to ionizing radiationsoperating of bakery machineswrecking, demolition, and shipbreaking operations
coal mine occupationsoperating power-driven hoisting apparatusoperating balers, compactors, and paper-products machinesroofing operations and on or about a roof
forest fire fighting and prevention, timber tract occupations, and forestry service occupationsoperating power-driven metal forming, punching, and shearing machinesmanufacturing brick, tile, and kindred productsexcavation operations
logging occupationsminingoperating circular saws, band saws, guillotine shears, chain saws, reciprocating saws, wood chippers, and abrasive cutting discs

FLSA


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

Massachusetts child labor laws require all teens under 18 years of age to have work permit to work in Massachusetts. Youth may obtain a work permit by completing an employment permit application and presenting it to the superintendent of schools for the municipality in which the minor lives or attends school

MA Department of Labor Standards – Youth Employment Permit


Are youth workers entitled to rest breaks or meal breaks?

In Massachusetts, employers are required to provide all employees, including employees under the 18 years of age, with meal and rest breaks. For more information, visit our Massachusetts Labor Laws page.

Employment Law Updates
Laws change in a moment. Sign up to stay informed.
Employment Law Updates
Laws change in a moment. Sign up to stay informed.

Have employees in more than one state? SUBSCRIBE HERE!

Have employees in more than one state? SUBSCRIBE HERE!