Work Permits

Procedure for School Regarding Work Permits

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Minors under 16 years old must obtain a work permit before beginning a job. This includes home-schoolers. They must get a new permit every time they begin a new job until they reach 16 years old, even if they work for their parents.

In order to apply for a work permit, the minor must be:

  • enrolled in school;

  • not habitually truant or under suspension; and

  • passing a majority of courses during the current grading period.

Once the minor has the promise of a job, she or he must take proof of age to the office of the superintendent of schools.  Social security numbers are no longer needed.  Parental permission is required to work.

The superintendent's office will complete the permit and mail the forms and proof of age to the Maine Department of Labor. A copy of the Maine Work Permit Form can be downloaded here. The Department will review the permit to ensure that the minor is of legal age to work at the business and that the occupation is not hazardous. If the permit is in order, the Department will validate the forms, keep one copy and return two copies to the superintendent's office (one copy for the school, one for the employer).

Employers must have a stamped, approved work permit on file before allowing any minor under 16 years old to work. The minor cannot work until the Department of Labor approves the permit, which can take up to one week.

The Department of Labor issues permits for specific jobs with specific employers. Permits are not transferable to other jobs or employers. A minor under 16 needs a separate work permit for each place he or she works.

A minor can have one active permit during the school year and two during the summer. Upon leaving a job, the minor or the employer should return the employer copy of the permit to the Department of Labor so that it can be invalidated.

School Attendance

Maine compulsory education law requires all students to attend school until age 17. The local school board must grant special permission for a minor under 17 years old to drop out of school.

A minor under 16 who has been granted such permission still must have a work permit; hourly and prohibited occupations restrictions also apply.

Hourly restrictions do not apply to 16- or 17-year olds no longer enrolled in school. Occupational restrictions apply to all minors whether or not they are enrolled in school.

Minors under 17 cannot work during the hours that school is in session unless they have the school's permission for early release from school or they are in an approved program.

Legal Work Hours for Minors

Employers must keep daily time records for minors. The records must show what time the minor began work, total hours worked, and what time the minor finished for the day.

Child labor laws specify how early, how late and how long minors can work. See below for details.

Following are the hours and times minors may work:

Note: The Maine Bureau of Liquor Enforcement prohibits teens under 18 from handling, serving, or selling alcoholic beverages. Exceptions: 15-year olds can handle liquor (for example, stocking and carrying) but not serve or sell it and 17-year olds can serve or sell liquor if a supervisor 21 or older is present. For more information, call Liquor Enforcement at 624-8745.

For more detailed information or questions please refer the following Resources

Child labor laws, wages, hiring and firing:

Maine Department of Labor (enforces Maine child labor laws)

Bureau of Labor Standards

Wage and Hour Division

623-7900

(TTY: Maine relay 711)

E-mail: Email Maine Department of Labor

Web site: View Website Maine Department of Labor

Child Labor poster

Revised:  November 2016 (bjo)