Can Minors Under 14 Legally Work in Massachusetts? It’s Tricky
Recently, I have been thinking about how many years in a row I've been working in the Berkshires. It turns out, I have been working in Berkshire County in some capacity since the age of 10 or 11. So, roughly 29 years. My first job as a youngster in Berkshire County was delivering newspapers for The Transcript. I started my paper route around 1994.
When I had my paper route, it took me about 30-40 minutes each day, after school to complete the route. I would deliver newspapers to approximately 30-35 customers Monday through Friday at about 3/3:30 in the afternoon and at about 7:00 a.m. on Saturdays. On a good week, I would make $20 - $30. How the pay worked, is I would collect the money from customers on Fridays and Saturdays. Once I had enough money to pay that week's bill, I could keep what was leftover, hence, the importance of customer tipping.
Delivering newspapers was a fun job and it really groomed me for future employment in terms of responsibility, punctuality, dependability, organizational skills, and making sure that good customer service was the #1 priority. Plus, it was great to be making my own money. I never really had a long-term allowance as a kid, because I started delivering newspapers at an early age and that basically took the place of a weekly allowance.
You May Be Asking, Isn't It Illegal to Work at Such a Young Age in Massachusetts?
Obviously, working a paper route is a legitimate job and is one of the exceptions to the Massachusetts law which generally states that Massachusetts minors under the age of 14 cannot work. While that law is true there are exceptions. According to mass.gov, Children under 14 can deliver newspapers, babysit, work on a farm and work in entertainment, though a special permit is required for the latter. You can get more information on child labor laws in Massachusetts by going here.
So there you have it. If you have a child under the age of 14 in Massachusetts who wants to start working now, consider one of the previously mentioned exceptions and he/she will be good to go.
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