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August 21, 2018

State expands scope of jobs suitable for teens

The Maine Department of Labor announced Monday it has revised rules for minors under the age of 18 in non-agricultural employment.

According to a news release, the new rule:

  • Changes driving restrictions to allow those 17 years of age to drive for work under specific circumstances and conditions.
  • Those who are at least 16 years of age are no longer prohibited from working alone at a cash-based business, and are allowed to perform soldering and welding in accordance with federal standards.
  • Expands cooking occupations for those between 14 and 15 years of age to include venues allowed by federal standards.
  • A new restriction was added that prohibits those under age 18 from working in any occupation in a registered marijuana dispensary, any establishment that cultivates, produces, or sells marijuana or products that contain marijuana, and any recreational marijuana social clubs.

The rules may be viewed online here.

The changes conform with other efforts to bring more teens into the workforce. In May, Maine's departments of Labor, Education and Economic and Community Development announced they were partnering with the nonprofit JMG (formerly Jobs for Maine Graduates) to promote teen employment in safe occupations statewide, to help teens connect with their first job this summer.

Called the "Yes Campaign," the initiative included setting a goal of increasing the number of work permits issued this summer for teens by 50% (4,261 issued in 2017); improving the efficiency of the work permit process; educating employers on how they can be part of building Maine's future workforce; and supporting, promoting and encouraging 14- and 15-year-olds as they search for their first job.

And in February, a revision to Maine's Hazardous Occupations Law for Minors was designed to attract more students under age 18 to paid internships. The revised law allows high schoolers to do paid internships in new trades, now that limits on working with hazardous machinery have been eased.

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