Recent interviews completed by Teens at Work Project staff within the Department of Public Health’s Occupational Health Surveillance Program found that among over 250 teens who had sustained a workplace injury, 25% of those teens did not have an employment permit. Parents, schools, and employers need to work together to make sure that teens have employment permits before they begin a job.
The Massachusetts Child Labor Laws restrict the type of jobs that minors can do as well as the hours that teens can work. These laws are meant to protect minors from hazardous work and ensure that they are working a reasonable number of hours within certain times of the day and year.
Massachusetts was the first state to enact a child labor law, in 1836, requiring children under the age of fifteen working in factories to go to school a minimum of three months per year. Certainly, a lot has changed in the world of work from over 175 years ago, but minors still have, and still need, special legal protections as workers until they reach the age of majority. For more information about the youth employment permit process or child labor laws in Massachusetts, visit www.mass.gov/dols/youth.
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