Massachusetts Child Labor laws & HR compliance analysis

Massachusetts Child Labor: What you need to know

In Massachusetts, workers who have not reached the age of 18 are considered minors for purposes of employment. State law restricts the occupations in which they may be employed and the number of hours they may work (MA Gen. Laws Ch. 149 Sec. 56et seq.).
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These laws are meant to keep children from working in occupations that are generally considered hazardous to their safety, health, morals, or well-being. Because the laws are complex and extensive, employers should consult the state Fair Labor and Business Practice Division before employing minors in uncommon occupations or during unusual hours.
Effect of federal law. Both federal and state child labor laws apply to most employers. If the laws conflict, the more restrictive law applies--and child labor laws are strictly enforced. There is additional information and a comprehensive discussion of the federal child labor laws.
Prohibitions. Massachusetts employers are forbidden to employ children under the age of 18:
• In any job requiring the possession or use of a firearm
• To directly handle or sell alcoholic beverages. Note: Minors under the age of 18 may work in establishments that sell alcohol, but they may not directly handle, sell, mix, or serve alcoholic beverages (MA Gen. Laws Ch. 138 Sec. 34).
• In or about blast furnaces
• In the operation or management of hoisting machines
• In oiling or cleaning hazardous machinery in motion
• In the operation or use of any polishing or buffing wheel at switch tending
• In gate tending or track repairing
• As a brakeman, fireman, engineer, motorman, or conductor upon a railroad or railway
• As a fireman or engineer upon any boat or vessel
• In operating motor vehicles of any ...

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