A new law that takes effect immediately broadens the kind of work young teenagers are allowed to do.

The law, which amends Maine Department of Labor regulations, allows 14- and 15-year-olds to work in movie theaters, bowling alleys, amusement parks, and some parts of hotels and bakeries.

“Employers in these industries can immediately begin making job offers to 14- and 15-year-olds for the newly expanded occupations,” Labor Commissioner John Butera said in a statement announcing the change. “Maine’s employers need these workers to help in this tight labor market, and we’ve seen a surge in permits this year. Our team is working hard to turn around approved permits as soon as possible.”

The law is based on a bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Brian Langley of Ellsworth that encourages minors to develop work skills earlier by removing some of the barriers to employment that existed in statute, and it brings certain provisions into compliance with federal law to ensure that young people are protected from hazardous conditions.

Teenagers in that age category could previously work in food service (with some restrictions), run a cash register or dishwasher, perform office work and other jobs. They are still precluded from operating power-driven choppers, food slicers, mixers, rapid broilers, pressure cookers and other hazardous equipment.

All minors must be paid the same minimum wage as adults, according to the Department of Labor.

To get an application, or learn more about the employment of minors, go to maine.gov/labor.

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