Work Permits

Work Permit Information

Please begin the process by completing the required fields on the Work Permit. A copy of the Maine Work Permit Form can be downloaded here.

Information you and your student should know:

  • There needs to be a job listed on the permit, you cannot get a permit without already having a "Promise of a job."
  • A copy of birth certificate is required.
  • Social Security number is needed and once put on the form any copy of card will be shredded.
  • If a student has an outstanding permit with the State and applies for a new permit during the school year, we need to
    know so that we can return the outstanding one with the new one or it will be returned and denied.
  • If a guardian or step-parent accompanies the child to the Superintendent's office to sign the permit, they will need official
    papers of guardianship or permission from birth parent, or again the permit will be sent back and denied.
  • The approval from the principal will need to be on the paperwork or it will delay the process. This pertains to question #7
    on the permit and will not be checked until all paperwork is complete and approved. This is required while school is in
    session.

At the end of the school year and during summer vacation, the process of applying for a permit becomes very busy for the State Department of Labor and Standards and for the approval process, due to this the turn-around time may take longer. Please take this into consideration when submitting a work permit.

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.

Employers must have a stamped, approved work permit on file before allowing any minor under 16 years old to work.

Once the minor has the promise of a job, she or he must take proof of age, (birth certificate) to Student Services at BEHS (if a high school student) or the main office at BEMS (if a middle school student). Parental permission is required to work.

Once the work permit is approved by the principal and superintendent, it will be submitted to the 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 school’s office (one copy for the school, one for the employer).

The minor cannot work until the Department of Labor approves the permit, which can take up to one week (again, this process may take longer during the summer).

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.

A minor under 16 who has had an approved withdrawal from school must still have a work permit.  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. 

Following are the hours and times minors may work:

A. Minors under 16 years old

Work Hours
Between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the school year
Between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. during summer vacations only
Not during school hours

Maximum Hours
3 hours a day on school days, including Fridays
18 hours in any week during a school week
40 hours in a week with no school
8 hours on days without school (during weekends, holidays, vacations, storm days, etc.)
No more than 6 days in a row

B. 16- and 17-Year Olds (enrolled in school, including home-school)

The Maine law which limits hours for 16- and 17-year-old workers includes several exceptions. Federal law does not limit work hours for 16- and 17-year olds.

Work hours (may work)
After 7 a.m. on a school day
After 5 a.m. on a nonschool day
Until 10:15 p.m. on a day before a school day
Until midnight if no school the next day
Minors under 17 may NOT work during school hours

Maximum hours (may work)

6 hours on a school day;
8 hours on the last school day of the week - there are some exceptions for co-op (work-study) students, and students with an alternative education plan with a work component.
10 hours a day on weekends, holidays, vacations, teacher workshops
24 hours a week in any week with 3 or more school days
50 hours a week each week there are less than 3 scheduled school days or during 1st and last week of school year
May NOT work more than 6 days in a row

C. Exceptions

Students enrolled in an approved alternative education plan or an approved cooperative/vocational education program can work the daily or weekly hours required for the program without having those hours count toward the regular maximums allowed. For example, a 17-year-old student could work 15 hours under a cooperative/vocational education plan plus the 20 hours that the law would normally allow for a student under 18 years old.

The following are exempt from all of the State hourly restrictions:

A minor employed in the planting, cultivating or harvesting of field crops or other agricultural employment not in direct contact with hazardous machinery or substances. (Federal child labor laws for agriculture are different. See Section IX. Federal Prohibited Occupations.)
A minor working as an employed or in-training actor;
A minor working at a children’s camp;
A minor who is legally emancipated;
Minors employed in fishing occupations or in the operation of ferries or excursion boats are exempt from the weekly and hourly restrictions only while school is not in session

Minimum Age for different types of Employment

Maine law states at what age minors may work in specific industries. Minimum ages under Federal law are different. Contact the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division at 780-3344 (Portland) or 945-0330 (Bangor) for details.

Minors Who are 16 or 17: May work in non-hazardous jobs in manufacturing establishments, bakeries, laundries, dry cleaning establishments and garages. They may also work in hotels; motels; commercial places of amusement, including skating rinks, circuses, arcades, bowling alleys and pool halls; and in all of the industries allowed for younger minors.

Minors Who are 15: May work in non-hazardous jobs in dining rooms, kitchens, lobbies and offices of hotels and motels, but they are prohibited from performing room service, making deliveries to the hotel rooms or entering the hallways to those rooms.

Minors Who are 14: May work in non-hazardous jobs in restaurants (if not on the premises of a hotel/motel), in sporting and overnight camps, stores, filling stations, ice cream stands and laundromats. They also may work at outside occupations on the grounds of a hotel or motel, but not if the minor must stay away from home overnight.

Minors Who are Under 14: There is no minimum age under Maine law to work in non-hazardous jobs in children's camps, hospitals, nursing homes, municipalities, domestic work in or about a private home or in the planting, cultivating or harvesting of field crops in agriculture. (Federal law does not allow minors under 14 to work in businesses under their jurisdiction.)

Minors of any age may work for their parents in non-hazardous jobs in non-mechanical and non-manufacturing settings in retail or service industries (excluding hotels and motels) if they are supervised directly by one or both parents. Work permit requirements, hours of work, and prohibited occupations apply to minors even if they work for their parents.

Federal laws may not allow parental exceptions. Contact the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division at 780-3344 (Portland) or 945-0330 (Bangor) for details.

Maine Work Permit Form can be downloaded here.

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