Young Worker Rights & Resources

If you're a teen and you have a job, you have rights. It's important to know what you should be paid, how many hours you can work, if you need a permit and what types of jobs you can't do under the law. Do you know what to do to keep yourself safe and healthy? Click here for our Teen Worker Rights factsheet, or check out any of the topics below.

Massachusetts Teen Legal Work Hours

14- and 15-year-olds during the school year:

  • Only between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m
  • Not during school hours

During the summer (July 1- Labor Day)

  • Only between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. (from July 1 through Labor Day).

Maximum Hours

When School IS in session:
 

  • 18 hours per week 
  • 3 hours a day on school days
  • 8 hours a day on weekends and holidays
  • 6 days a week

When school IS NOT in session:

  • 40 hours a week
  • 8 hours a day
  • 6 days a week

16- and 17-year-olds during school year:

  • 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on school nights (or 10:15 p.m. if workplace stops serving clients or customers at 10:00 p.m.)
  • until 12 am on Friday's, Saturday's and during school vacation
  • 48 hours a week 
  • 9 hours a day
  • 6 days a week
  • NO ONE UNDER 18 CAN WORK AFTER 8:00pm WITHOUT A SUPERVISOR PRESENT

Massachusetts Minimum Wage (As of January 1, 2015)

  • $9.00 per hour
  • $3.00 per hour- Wait staff, service employees, and service bartenders (if employee regularly receives tips of more than $20 a month ($30 under federal law), and if their average hourly tips, when added to the service rate, are equal to or exceed the basic minimum wage)
  • $8.00 per hour-Agricultural employees

There are laws that protect teens from doing dangerous work

In Massachusetts no worker under 18 may:

  • Drive a motor vehicle or a forklift (except golf carts in certain circumstances)
  • Work in roofing or on or about a roof
  • Use powered equipment like a circular saw, box crusher, meat slicer or bakery machine
  • Work in wrecking, demolition or excavation
  • Work in logging, saw milling or mining
  • Handle, serve or sell alcoholic beverage (Yes, if you are 18 you can serve alcohol)
  • Work where there is exposure to radiation or toxic substances

*The exceptions include teens workers under 18 employed at a kiosk, cart, or stand in an enclosed shopping mall that has security personnel, either a private security company or a public police detail every night from 8:00 p.m. until the mall is closed to the public.

Click here to download our "Are you a working teen?" factsheet
 

For More Resources or to Take Action:

For work-related concerns or for help taking action call MassCOSH Teens Lead at Work 617.825.7233 x 13

For questions about wages or the Child Labor Laws:                                                  

Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General-Fair Labor and Business Practices Divisions 
www.ago.state.ma.us - 617.727.3465

U.S Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division
www.dol.gov.esa/whd - 617.624.6700

For questions about worker's compensation:

Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents 
www.mass.gov/dia - 1(800) 323.3249 x 470

For questions about health and safety:

U.S Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration
www.osha.gov

         Methuen Office - (617)565.8110
         Braintree Office- (617) 565.6924
         Springfield Office- (413) 785.0123

Massachusetts Department of Public Health-Occupational Health Surveillance Program Teens at Work Injury Surveillance and Prevention Project 
www.mass.gov/dph/ohsp - 617.624.5632

National Young Worker Safety Resource
www.youngworkers.org - 510.643.2424 

For questions about discrimination:

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
www.mass.gov/mcad -  617.994.6000

U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 
www.youth.eeoc.gov - 1(800) 669.4000