Law allows 14 and 15 year olds to be hired in new occupations immediately

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AUGUSTA—The Department of Labor’s bill to modernize the regulations governing youth employment, LD 1564, which was amended by the Senate to include an emergency preamble, is now law and effective immediately.

LD 1564, sponsored by Senator Brian Langley of Hancock County, encourages minors to develop work skills earlier by removing some of the barriers to employment that existed in statute and brings certain provisions into compliance with federal law to ensure that young people are protected from hazardous conditions. It amends laws relating to minors 14 and 15 years of age to allow them to work in bowling alleys, movie theaters and permanent amusement parks, and to clarify their employment in bakeries, hotels and rooming houses—opening more occupations and broadening the things they can do.

“Employers in these industries can immediately begin making job offers to 14 and 15 year olds for the newly expanded occupations,” advised Commissioner of Labor John Butera. “Maine’s employers need these workers to help in this tight labor market, and we’ve seen a surge in permits this year. Our team is working hard to turn around approved permits as soon as possible.”

The work-permit application can be downloaded and printed directly from the department’s website:http://www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/publications/minorsguide.html . The approval process has three steps: the employer makes the job offer and helps complete the application, the parent or guardian signs the application and brings it to the superintendent’s office. The school system sends the form to the department. Be sure the application form includes proof of age, the parent’s or guardian’s signature, the actual business name, and the specific job duties (e.g., “dishwasher”) for faster turn-around.

The bill also allows for the modernization of the work permit process, clarifies that graduates of vocational programs who are under 18 years of age can work in the occupations for which they were trained, grants the department, not just superintendents, the ability to revoke a permit and allows the department to make rules governing employment. Included as well are restrictions in employment relating to legalized marijuana.

A copy of the Guide to Maine Laws Governing the Employment of Minors and permit is posted on the Maine Department of Labor website at http://www.maine.gov/labor/bls/index.shtml .
Businesses with questions about employing minors can call the customer service line at (207) 623-7900 or email their request to mdol@maine.gov .