Maine Child Labor Laws

January 19th 2024

Child labor laws play a pivotal role in protecting the rights and well-being of young workers and ensuring they are not subjected to exploitative working conditions.

These laws aim to strike a delicate balance between providing valuable work experience for youth and safeguarding their education, health, and overall development.

This article will provide a comprehensive overview of child labor regulations in the state of Maine, outlining the restrictions, permitted work hours, and specific provisions that govern the employment of minors.

This article covers:


Employment Age for Minors in Maine

Maine minors are prohibited from engaging in non-agricultural employment under the age of 14, under federal regulations.

However, different rules and regulations govern minors employed in the agricultural sector.

Further, minors of any age are permitted to work for their parents in non-hazardous jobs within retail or service industries that are solely owned by the minor’s parent, as long as these jobs are non-mechanical and non-manufacturing in nature and owned by the parents.

It is important to note that even when working for their parents, minors are still required to comply with work permit requirements, adhere to restricted hours of work, and refrain from engaging in prohibited occupations as specified by the relevant regulations.

Working Permit for Minors in Maine

Minors who are under 16 years old are required to obtain a Maine work permit prior to commencing any job, including homeschoolers. This mandate remains applicable even if the minor is working for their parents.

Each time a minor begins a new job until they reach 16 years old, they must obtain a new work permit. 

To be eligible for a work permit, the minor must:

  • Be enrolled in school
  • Have a satisfactory attendance record without habitual truancy or suspension
  • Demonstrate passing performance in the majority of their courses during the current grading period

Employers must ensure that they possess a stamped and approved work permit on file before allowing any minor under 16 years old to engage in work activities.

The Department of Labor issues permits that are specific to particular jobs and employers. These permits are not transferable to other jobs or employers, meaning that a minor under 16 years old must obtain a separate work permit for each place of employment.

During the school year, a minor may possess one active permit, while during the summer, they can have up to two active permits. 

It is necessary for the minor or the employer to notify the Department of Labor upon leaving a job so that the permit can be deactivated accordingly.

Working Hours for Minors in Maine

Minors in Maine are restricted according to their ages from working certain hours. The following are the working hours regulations for minors:

Age Group Labor Laws
Under the age of 16 – Must acquire a work permit approved by the Bureau of Labor
– After 7 a.m. and before 7 p.m. (extended to 9 p.m. in summer)
– No more than 40 hours in a week while school is not in session
– No more than 18 hours in a week while school is in session
Aged 16 and 17 – No need for a work permit
– Between 7 a.m. – 10.15 p.m. when school is in session
– Between 5 a.m. – 12.00 am when school is out of session
– No more than 50 hours in a week while school is not in session
– No more than 24 hours in a week when school is not in session

Time Tracking of Minors’ Hours in Maine

Keeping track of work hours for minor employees is vital to ensure compliance with labor laws and regulations, preventing the exploitation and mistreatment of child laborers. This practice enables a careful balance between work and education, safeguarding a child’s right to receive an education and enjoy a healthy childhood.

Moreover, tracking attendance and working hours helps oversee health and safety conditions, reducing the risk of children being exposed to hazardous or excessively long working hours.

Additionally, maintaining records and timesheets serves as a means to hold employers accountable for their treatment of child laborers. Furthermore, the data generated by time clock software is an invaluable resource for child rights organizations and policymakers as they advocate for stronger protections and regulations, ultimately contributing to the overall well-being and future prospects of child workers.

Maine Payment Laws for Minors

Minors in Maine are entitled to receive the Maine state minimum wage.

It is important to note that Maine does not have any provisions for a training wage or a student wage that falls below the minimum wage requirement.

Meal and Break Period Regulations for Minors in Maine

Employees in Maine are entitled to a minimum break of 30 minutes after working for six consecutive hours. 

This break period is typically compensated unless the employee voluntarily chooses to take an unpaid meal break, during which they must be completely relieved of their duties.

Small businesses with three or fewer employees on duty are not obligated to provide meal breaks, provided that employees can take frequent breaks throughout the workday.

Banned Jobs for Minors in Maine

Federal regulations protect minors in Maine from working in hazardous environments by imposing limitations on their employment in certain job categories. Some examples of prohibited job types for minors in Maine include:

  • Handling explosives
  • Operating motor vehicles
  • Working in mining operations
  • Engaging in quarrying activities
  • Logging and timber-related work
  • Operating circular or band saws, as well as guillotine shears
  • Operating power-driven machinery

Workplace Notices and Documentation Requirements for Child Employees in Maine

Employers in Maine are obligated to maintain daily time records for minors, which should include information such as the start and end times of the minor’s work, the total hours worked, the wages paid, and a breakdown of itemized deductions.

Additionally, all employers are required to maintain accurate payroll records for workers under 18. These records should include details of the minor’s work start and end times, as well as the total hours worked each day.

As per Maine Law (Title 26, M.R.S.A. § 42-B), every employer must prominently display certain Maine required labor posters in the workplace. 

When it comes to Child labor posters in Maine, the poster summarizes the laws pertaining to the employment of minors and serves as a visual reminder and source of information for both employers and employees regarding youth employment regulations.

Sanctions for Violating Minors Employment Laws in Maine

The enforcement of child labor laws in Maine falls under the responsibility of the Maine Department of Labor

Violations of these laws are considered grave offenses and are treated as civil violations. The penalties for violating child labor laws range from fines starting at $250 and going up to $50,000 per incident.

It is important to note that it is unlawful for an employer to terminate employment, issue threats, retaliate against, or engage in any form of discrimination against an employee for reporting a suspected child labor violation to the Department of Labor. 

If an individual wishes to file a complaint regarding a suspected child labor violation, they may do so with the Maine Human Rights Commission. In addition, anyone can report a suspected child labor violation in writing to either the Maine Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division or the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division.

To know more about the entitlements of employees, check our guides on your rights as a salaried employee in Maine and your rights as an hourly employee in Maine. You can also learn more about Maine Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.