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Circumventing Child Labor Laws Massachusetts

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  • Circumventing Child Labor Laws Massachusetts


    I work at a larger retailer in Massachusetts and often work many more hours than I am scheduled because we are understaffed, I'm good at my job, and I like overtime. However, I have consistently broken every labor law in the book, from staying past 10 to coming in before 6 to working 7 days a week to not taking my break to working over 48 hours a week to working over 9 (12, for that matter) hours in a day. I'm perfectly okay with this, and I need to save money for college.

    Right now, I'm 17. I'm happy with the job, the work, and the pay, and my managers are happy to give me whatever hours I want. I don't think, given the fact that I'm smarter and more mature than many people who are years older than me, that I should be restricted by these labor laws. Is there any way for me to be exempted from these laws? I've heard a little about partial emancipation or something like that - if I go before a judge, can he take care of it? What would I have to do to exempt myself from the laws? What court would I have to go to?

    Thanks in advance for any response.

  • #2
    Generally speaking, no. It's your EMPLOYER who is subject to the laws, not you. The fact that you think you're smarter and more mature than people twice your age (most 17 year-olds do ) is irrelevant. The law is the law.

    But here's the deal. If the employer gets caught, he will be fined and made to comply with the law. That means either you lose your job altogether or you will not be allowed to work hours not allowed by law.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


    • #3
      To put it bluntly, no. There is no way to circumvent the laws because you don't think you ought to be restricted by them. And the fact that you think otherwise means that you are not as smart and mature as you think you are. What EVER gave you the idea that ANYONE ought to be exempt from the law?
      The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


      • #4
        It's kind of funny...

        Your post sounded like an exact copy of the Attorney General's site:

        "16-17 year old minors may NOT be employed:
        • between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. EXCEPT in restaurants and race tracks where they may work until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and during school vacations, except on the last day of vacation
        • more than 9 hours per day
        • more than 48 hours in a week
        • more than 6 days per week

        *The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor, also restricts the employment of minors. This list combines the most restrictive state and federal time and hour requirements."

        It makes me wonder if you either really are that very smart 17-year old and you literally checked into each of these instances or if you're an employer who's just trying to find a way around the rules without having to worry about people telling you that you're a jerk. No matter.

        The only thing I've ever heard of is a special waiver offered by the AG - info also on his site - but that's for minors in the entertainment or theatrical field... so as a retailer you're kind of limited... severely Aside from that, the AG's office never returns phone calls or email inquiries so even if the waiver could apply to you good luck getting it! Either way, it sounds like these rules aren't hindering you at the moment anyway because you do claim to have an outrageous schedule so I wouldn't worry too much about it... 18 is around the corner and then you're free to work as long as you want.


        • #5
          Heh, trust me, I really am that 17 year old. I'll look into that waiver, thanks.


          • #6
            Um, did you, the 17 year-old, notice that the responder stated the waiver was available for entertainers ? You make think working in a retail store is "entertainment", but I can guarantee you, the AG's office will not.
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.