- enrolled in school;
- not habitually truant or under suspension; and
- passing a majority of courses during the current grading period.
- Between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the school year
- Between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. during summer vacations only
- Not during school hours
- 3 hours a day on school days, including Fridays
- 18 hours in any week during a school week
- 40 hours in a week with no school
- 8 hours on days without school (during weekends, holidays, vacations, storm days, etc.)
- No more than 6 days in a row
- After 7 a.m. on a school day
- After 5 a.m. on a nonschool day
- Until 10:15 p.m. on a day before a school day
- Until midnight if no school the next day
- Minors under 17 may NOT work during school hours
- 6 hours on a school day;
- 8 hours on the last school day of the week - there are some exceptions for co-op (work-study) students, and students with an alternative education plan with a work component.
- 10 hours in any day when the minor's school is not in session
- 24 hours a week in any week with 3 or more school days
- 50 hours a week each week there are less than 3 scheduled school days or during 1st and last week of school year
- May NOT work more than 6 days in a row
- Any manufacturing occupation;
- Any mining occupation;
- Any processing occupation (except those allowed in retail, food service and gasoline service stations, and all other venues not prohibited by federal law);
- Motor vehicle driving of any kind and outside helper;
- Operation 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 law;
- All construction occupations;
- All work in boiler or engine rooms;
- Outside window washing that involves working from window sills and all work involving the use of ladders, scaffolds or their substitutes;
- Cooking (except at soda fountains, lunch counters, snack bars or cafeteria serving counters and other venues allowed by federal law) and baking;
- Occupations which involve operating, setting up, adjusting, cleaning, oiling, or repairing power driven food slicers and grinders, food choppers and cutters and bakery type mixers;
- All work in freezers and meat coolers;
- Occupations 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 conveyers;
- All welding, brazing or soldering occupations;
- Occupations involving the use of toxic chemicals and paints;
- Selling door-to-door (except when the minor is selling candy or merchandise as a fund-raiser for school or for an organization to which the minor belongs, such as Girl Scouts of America) or work in a traveling youth crew;
- All occupations on amusement rides, including ticket collection or sales;
- Any placement at the scene of a fire, explosion or other emergency response situation: and
- All occupations that are expressly prohibited for sixteen and seventeen-year-old minors.
- Manufacturing and storing explosives;
- Motor vehicle driving on public roadways and outside helper;
- All mining occupations;
- Power-driven woodworking machines;
- Power-driven hoisting apparatus;
- Power-driven metal forming, punching and shearing machines;
- Slaughtering or meat packing, processing or rendering occupations (this includes meat slicers, grinders and choppers);
- Power-driven paper products machines;
- Manufacturing brick, tile, and kindred products;
- Power-driven circular saws, band saws, and guillotine shears;
- Wrecking and demolition occupations;
- Roofing operations;
- Excavation operations;
- All occupations in places having nude entertainment;
- Placement at the scene of a fire, explosion or other emergency except as provided in placement at the scene of a fire, explosion or other emergency situation unless otherwise allowed for junior firefighters only.;
- Gas or electric welding, brazing, burning or cutting if done in conjunction with other hazardous occupation such as wrecking, demolition and shipbreaking operations;
- Work that involves entry into a confined space where the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations require a permit entry system under 29 CFR 1910.146 as amended August 1, 2003; and
- Working at heights where the U. S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations require special precautions or personal protective equipment:
- Walking working surfaces more than 4 feet above the next closest surface without a standard railing as required under 29 CFR 1910.23 as amended August 1, 2003.
- Fixed ladders of more than 20 feet in height; and
- Scaffolding work performed more than 10 feet above the working surface supporting the scaffold where railings or fall protection is required under the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration 29 CRF 1910.28 as amended August 1, 2003.
- All occupations in registered dispensaries of marijuana for medical use authorized under Title 22, chapter 558-C and in establishments that cultivate, produce or sell marijuana or products in which marijuana is an ingredient or in recreational marijuana social clubs authorized under Title 7, chapter 417.
- Seventeen-year-olds, but no one under 17 years of age, may drive automobiles and trucks on public roads as part of their employment 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;
- The 17-year-old holds a state license valid for the type of driving involved;
- The 17-year-old 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.
- The following definitions apply:
- “Motor vehicle” shall mean any automobile, truck, truck tractor, trailer, semitrailer, motorcycle, or similar vehicle propelled or drawn by mechanical power and designed for use as a means of transportation but shall not include any vehicle operated exclusively on rails.
- “Driver” shall mean any individual who in the course of employment, drives a motor vehicle at any time.
- “Outside helper” shall mean any individual, other than a driver, whose work includes riding on a motor vehicle outside the cab for the purpose of assisting in transporting or delivering goods.
- “Gross vehicle weight” includes the truck chassis with lubricants, water, and full tank or tanks of fuel, plus the weight of the cab or driver’s compartment, body, and special chassis and body equipment, and payload.
- “Urgent, time-sensitive deliveries” shall mean trips which, because of such factors as customer satisfaction, the rapid deterioration of the quality or change in temperature of the product, and/or economic incentives, are subject to timeliness, schedules, and/or turnaround times which might impel the driver to hurry in the completion of the delivery. Prohibited trips would include, but are not limited to, the delivery of pizzas and prepared foods to the customer, the delivery of materials under a deadline (such as deposits to a bank at closing), and the shuttling of passengers to and from transportation depots to meet transport schedules. “Urgent, time-sensitive deliveries” do not depend on the delivery’s points of origin and termination, an include the delivery of people and things to the employer’s place of business as well as from that business to come other location.
- “Occasional and incidental” shall mean not more than one-third of the 17-year-old driver’s worktime in any workday and no more than 20 percent of the 17-year-old driver’s worktime in any workweek.
- Under certain conditions, apprentices and student learners may work at the following prohibited occupations:
- The operation of power-driven woodworking, paper products, and metal-forming, -punching and -shearing machines;
- Slaughtering or meatpacking, processing or rendering;
- Operation of power-driven circular saws, band saws, and guillotine shears;
- Roofing operations;
- Excavation operations; and
- Welding, brazing, and soldering.
- Must be employed in a craft recognized as an apprenticeable trade and registered by the U.S. Department of Labor or Maine Department of Labor;
- The hazardous work is incidental to the training;
- The hazardous work is intermittent, for short periods of time, and under the direct and close supervision of a journeyman.
- Must be enrolled in a course of study and training in a cooperative or vocational training program under a recognized State or local educational authority or in a similar private school program; and
- Must be employed under a written agreement that provides:
- That the hazardous work must be incidental to the training;
- That the hazardous work must be intermittent, for short periods of time, and under the direct and close supervision of a qualified and experienced person;
- That both the school and employer give safety instruction; and
- A schedule of organized and progressive work processes to be performed on the job.
- Perform nonhazardous duties at the fire station.
- Ride in the cab of the fire apparatus responding to an emergency scene.
- Attend training sessions. However, if the training is deemed hazardous, an instructor shall supervise the minor.
- Participate in nonhazardous duties only within the rehabilitation area at the scene of an actual emergency.
- Perform any hazardous duties at the fire station.
- Ride outside of the cab of any fire apparatus.
- Perform any hazardous work at the scene of an accident.
- Fight fires (except in training as above).
- Ride as a passenger in the cab of a fire truck or in an emergency vehicle.
- With proper training, fight ground fires when they are directly supervised, except ground fires which involve an existing “crown fire” exposure.
- Perform patient care (for which they are licensed) in an emergency vehicle or at the scene of an accident or other emergency.
- Attend and take part in supervised training.
- Participate in fire department functions wthin the rehabilitation area of an emergency scene. This could include setting up the engine, assisting in water supply efforts, and other support functions, which do not expose the Junior Firefighter to hazardous areas or atmospheres.
- Pick up hose and clean up at the fire scene after it has been declared safe by the Incident Commander.
- Enter a structure only when accompanied by an adult firefighter once the structure has been determined safe by the Incident Commander.
- Perform search and rescue activities, other than structural firefighting.
- Operate a fire pump located outside the danger zone at the direction of the Incident Commander.
- Use pressurized hose lines if properly trained, under the direction of an Incident Commander, and out of the danger area.
- Perform fire suppression involving structures or vehicles.
- Drive fire department or emergency vehicles.
- Respond with operating red lights (drive any vehicle, including their own car with attached operating red lights) to the scene of a fire or emergency.
- Perform firefighting “overhaul” activities (except when the structure has been declared safe by the Incident Commander and then only with adult firefighter).
- Respond to Hazardous Material events (except for support functions within the cold zone).
- Perform any activity (except training) which involves the use of self-contained breathing apparatus.
- Participate or assist in any extrication activities at the scene of an accident or emergency (except in the capacity of a support function).
- Participate in any activities at the scene of an accident or emergency where fire is involved, unless they are performing support functions from outside the danger area.
- Participate in actual “ice rescue” activities, but may provide assistance within any designated rehabilitation area or as a support member on dry land only.
- Direct traffic at the scene of a fire or other emergency.
- exposure to radioactive substances (prohibited in Maine under 16 years old); and
- operating power-driven bakery machines (prohibited in Maine under 16 years old).
- Child actors — Maine has no minimum age and no hourly restrictions for child actors, but they must have work permits if under the age of 16.
- Agriculture — No work permit is required for field agricultural work. No minimum age, hourly restrictions or prohibited occupations apply in field occupations involving the planting, cultivating or harvesting of field crops under Maine law.
Are you school staff looking to support your students, or a student looking to work or explore their career options? The Maine Department of Labor is working to ensure that staff, counselors, and teachers have the tools they need to empower their students as they enter the world of work, and ensure that students and their families know their rights and available resources.
Employers in Maine and throughout the country are increasingly challenged to find employees, and are relying more heavily on younger workers to meet that need. Applications for minor work permits increased nearly 75% between 2017 and 2022. With this increase in youth hiring, violations of child labor law and workplace injuries have been on the rise in Maine.
Most Maine employers comply with state and federal legal restrictions designed to protect the health, safety, and education of our minors. However, the Department of Labor has also recently observed a marked increase in the numbers of work permits denied, violations of child-protective labor laws, and most disturbingly, in reported injuries to minors in Maine’s workplaces.
The Department wants to work with employers and young job seekers to ensure students know their rights and are safe and healthy both in the workplace and in school. School staff can help with this, as well as with sharing resources that can help prepare students to navigate the world of work.
Information for Minors Looking to Work
Those 14 years old and older can work within certain boundaries that are in place to ensure that working does not interfere with the health or education of the minor, such as minimum ages for employment, work permits, hours of work, and prohibited occupations.
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:
Employers must have a stamped, approved work permit on file before allowing any minor under 16 years old to work.
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. Parental permission is required to work.
The superintendent’s office will complete the permit and submit it to the Maine Department of Labor. 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 form, and return a copy to the superintendent’s office. The superintendent’s office will provide a copy for the employer.
The minor cannot work until the Department of Labor approves the permit.
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 deactivated.
The work permit application can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/publications/2018/work_permit_072018.pdf
Child labor laws specify how early, how late and how long minors can work.
Minors under 16 years old
16 and 17 year old minors (enrolled in school, including home-school)
Please Note: The Maine law which limits hours for 16- and 17-year-old workers includes several exceptions. Federal law does not limit work hours for minors that are 16 and 17 years old.
Work hours (may work)
Maximum hours (may work)
Minors Under 16 Years of Age
Minors under the age of 16 may not be employed in the following occupations:
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, 14 year olds may only bus tables. For more information, call Liquor Enforcement at 624-8745.
Limited Exemption for 17 Year Old Employees
Apprentices and Student Learners
Under certain conditions, apprentices and student learners may work at the following prohibited occupations:
To qualify for the above exemptions, the following conditions must be met:
Minors who are under 16 may:
Minors who are under 16 may not:
Minors who are 16 and 17 may:
Minors who are 16 and 17 may not:
Under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 17 Hazardous Orders in Nonagricultural Occupations prohibit the employment of youth under 18 in certain occupations in certain businesses.
Maine prohibited occupations include most of the Federal prohibited occupations, as well as several prohibitions not covered by Federal law. Federal law prohibits youth under 18 from only a few occupations which Maine law does not prohibit, such as:
A Federal Hazardous Order sets occupational restrictions for agricultural workers under 16 years old employed in the production of goods for interstate commerce. The order lists 16 prohibited occupations, including working with certain power-driven farm machinery, operating a tractor with over 2O PTO (power-take-off) horsepower and working with explosives or certain chemicals. Request ‘Child Labor in Agriculture’ (WH publication 1295) from the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division at 780-3344 (Portland) or 945-0330 (Bangor).
The prohibitions on child labor on farms do not apply to minors employed on a farm owned or operated by their parents or to students in a recognized vocational education training program. In addition, exemptions are provided for 4-H members who have completed designated training programs and participants in other approved farm training and education programs.
In addition to the other prohibited occupations, youth under 16 may not be employed in the manufacture or furnishing of any article included in a U.S. Government contract in excess of $10,000 (Federal Public Contracts Act).
The Department has downloadable posters in a variety of languages, which we encourage schools to have posted in common areas: https://www.maine.gov/labor/posters/index.shtml
If you think there is a possibility of child labor violations, or have questions, please contact MDOL’s Wage & Hour Division at 207-623-7900 or email@example.com.
For more information on labor laws pertaining to minors, visit https://www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/publications/minorsguide.shtml
Read the Department’s 2023 Employment of Minors Report: (Word) (PDF)
The Maine Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Research and Information has created a student career discovery dashboard that presents data on in-demand jobs and wages in a manner that is accessible to students in grades 6-12: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/student_portal/
Students can explore these data in a variety of ways, such as by geographic region, career clusters of occupations with similar features, and the typical educational requirement of the career. Students can find information about the role of each career cluster in Maine’s economy with a specific data point, like how many jobs there are today, what Maine workers earn in the career, and how many job openings are projected in the next ten years.
Maybe students aren’t sure what their next step is– whether it be training, school, or a career, the Maine Department of Labor and its CareerCenters are here to help. You may already be familiar with the Department through the vocational rehabilitation program, which works with each school in the state to support youth with disabilities.
CareerCenter staff provide no-cost customized services to help someone find a job that interests them and help them get the skills they need to be successful. All services are available both online and in-person, with locations across the state. Students can get help with career exploration, resume development, interview tips and practice, or connect with training such as registered apprenticeship and other opportunities to help them reach their career goals.
We encourage students looking for jobs or training to visit the CareerCenter website, www.mainecareercenter.gov. There are many resources available online, and they can live-chat with one of our staff. They can also call (207)-623-7981 or email MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov for more information on workshops, job fairs, and other opportunities they may be interested in.
The Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) offers programs through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI).
Vocational Rehabilitation Program (VR) promotes the employment of working-age youth and adults through career exploration and a wide range of preparation activities, including:
Pre-Employment Transition Services - Students with disabilities ages 14 to 22 can access services such as job exploration counseling, work-based learning experiences, counseling on opportunities for post-secondary training and education, workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living, and instruction in self-advocacy through an easy one-page registration form.
Summer Work Experiences: Every summer, VR counselors work with youth and employers statewide to create job experiences. These paid work experiences are a great way for students to gain experience, get paid, and have fun!
Step Up: A multi-week college prep summer program for high school juniors and seniors with Autism Spectrum Disorders offered in partnership with UMaine on the Orono campus. Students stay in the dorms and eat in the café – experiencing college life while taking for-credit college coursework, college prep seminars, social skill instruction and recreation, and work-based learning.
College Prep: A residential program where students are involved in an intensive three-credit college course while living on a university campus and participating in blindness rehabilitation instruction, such as Orientation & Mobility and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy. The students experience what it is like to live away from home, have a roommate, and learn the expectations of a college level course. They also participate in community service work and sometimes a paid work experience.
College Bus Tours: Many Maine students with disabilities do not have the opportunity to visit colleges first-hand as they consider their post-secondary plans. To address that need, DVR launched a new Pre-Employment Transition Services program in 2022 – taking high school students on two one-week bus tours of community colleges and universities across Maine. Students meet with college staff, tour campuses, sleep in the dorms and eat cafeteria food all while making friends and increasing their knowledge of Maine’s numerous higher education opportunities!
PEERS®: The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) is world-renowned for providing evidence-based social skills treatment. Through a research partnership with Dr. Sarah Howorth at the University of Maine, DVR staff became certified to deliver PEERS® via telehealth to youth and young adult ages 14 to 24 with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) around the state.
LIFE (Learning, Independence, Fun and Employment) Camp: A two-week residential program focused on pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS) activities for students with low vision and additional disabilities. Students are introduced to adaptive home/personal management skills, such as cleaning, budgeting, shopping, meal prep, organization, and travel planning/training. They explore their strengths, interests, and real jobs at local employers, learning appropriate social skills, basic interview techniques, and how to dress for a professional interview. They also participate in technology classes, learning new apps and accessibility features of their personal devices. In addition to all the hard work, students participate in fun and leisure activities!
DBVI’s Robotics and Cyber Academy Camp: A one-week residential program on a college campus offered to high school students with disabilities with an interest in the field of algebra. Students learn to assemble, program, and code their own “bots,” as well as become more knowledgeable about cyber ethics and safety. Additionally, students participate in evening activities that expose them to college life and build social, communication, and teamwork skills.
No Barriers: A weekend residential camp for students who are blind and visually impaired participate in team building activities, including rock wall climbing, zip lining, and hiking, while immersing themselves in the “7 life elements” of the No Barriers Curriculum developed by Erik Wiehenmyer, the first blind individual to climb to the summit of Mt. Everest. The training is designed to empower students to overcome their own personal barriers and, eventually, share with others.
For more information, visit https://www.maine.gov/rehab/
Students can browse thousands of job openings, internships, externships, and apprenticeships on the Maine JobLink, which can be accessed at https://joblink.maine.gov/.
Registered apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can count on receiving four things: paid on the job work experience, related classroom instruction, alignment of training with skills standards, and a nationally recognized, portable credential.
We like to use the phrase “learn while you earn” when describing the mutual benefits of this program.
Apprenticeship is a way for workers to receive the training and support they need to be successful in a new career, while earning a wage, and for employers to play a direct role in training their workforce for jobs of today and tomorrow.
Registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs can be a great option for students and those beginning their careers. As pre-apprentices, they earn transferrable hours and skills to take with them as they bridge over to Registered Apprenticeship. Upon graduation they are given priority to interviews or job placement in their chosen career path.
We would be happy to come present to your school, staff or students, on any of these topics. If interested, please contact the Maine Department of Labor at 207-623-7900 or www.maine.gov/labor/contact and the customer service representative will put you in contact with the appropriate person. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to help support those looking to take the next step on their career path.