Say YES to that First Job: Labor Dept. Offers Information on Youth Employment While In-School

AUGUSTA — Maine Departments of Labor (MDOL) and Education (DOE) launched the Youth Employment and the Steps to Success Initiative (YES) earlier this year to create awareness around the reciprocal benefits of youth employment and to help address the state’s workforce needs in this era of historically-low unemployment rate and tight labor market. The Department of Labor is offering youth-employment reminders for minors in the workplace, students, parents, and employers.

“We must prepare Maine’s next generation of workers, by promoting and encouraging youth to enter the workforce earlier,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “The skills learned through that first job cannot be overstated; from managing their own money, to being dependable and on time, to beginning their quest for a career, there is no better preparation for a lifetime of work than that first job.”

When school is in session, minors under 16 years old can:

  • Have one active permit during the school year (two during the summer);
  • Work between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.;
  • Work three (3) hours a day on school days outside of school hours, including Fridays;
  • Work a maximum of 18 hours during a school week; and
  • Work no more than six (6) days in a row.

When there is no school during the school year, minors under 16 years old can:

  • Work up to eight (8) hours a day; and
  • Work up to 40 hours in a week; for example, during a school break.

A student seeking new employment during the school term, must notify MDOL to cancel any existing active summer work permits in that student’s name. Contact Rachel Bowler, Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS), at 207-623-7930 or by email, .

Additionally, parents, teens, employers, and school superintendent offices with questions about employment of minors and the Work Permit process can call the Wage and Hour Division at BLS at 207-623-7900.

“Looking at Maine’s minor population as one part of the solution makes sense for many reasons,” said Labor Commissioner John Butera. “We have almost 28,000, 14- and 15-year olds in Maine. Introducing them into the workforce at a younger age helps to build confidence, self-reliance and independence, understand the value of having their own money, and cultivates soft skills that many employers are craving in their current and future employees. Youth who start work early learn how to work well with others, to respect and have self-control, and develop good time-management skills and personal responsibility — all important attributes that will serve them well in their personal, educational and professional lives.”

There have been 4,085 work permits issued as of September 10, 2018, versus 3,679 at the same time a year ago. There were 4,261 total work permits issued in 2017.

Maine YES Initiative

Youth Employment and the Steps (YES) to success is an effort to boost youth employment in Maine. Introducing teens into the workforce helps build confidence, self-reliance and independence, understand the responsibility and value of having their own money, and cultivates soft skills that many employers crave in today’s workers. For more information about the YES initiative, visit .

About BLS

The Bureau of Labor Standards helps workers and businesses make their worksites safer, upholds standards for minimum wages, child labor and other practices, and gathers information on the rapidly changing world of work in Maine today–and in the future. Visit and for more information about no-cost services and online resources.

Maine Department of Labor is an equal opportunity provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available to individuals with disabilities upon request.