Youth Employment Safety Laws

Many laws have been written to help youth (under age 18) at work.  This is what employment laws do:

  • Keep kids in safe jobs;
  • Ensure kids are not overworked;
  • Prohibit discrimination;
  • Give decent pay.

There are also laws for work permits and taxes.

Under Age 14

Maryland law says that you are not allowed to be employed or to work.  There are however some jobs that are not considered "employment" if you work outside of school hours.

  • Farm work performed on a farm.
  • Domestic work performed in or about a home.
  • Working in a business owned or operated by your parent or guardian.
  • Working as a non-paid volunteer, in a charitable or non-profit organization, employed with the written consent of a parent or guardian.
  • Caddying on a golf course.
  • Teaching on an instructional sailboat.
  • Manufacturing evergreen wreaths in or near a home.
  • Delivering newspapers to the consumer.
  • Working as a counselor, assistant counselor, or instructor in a youth camp certified under the Maryland Youth Camp Act.

Read the Law: Lab. & Emp. § 3-203

Entertainer Exception - If you get a special work permit, you can work at any age as a model, performer, or entertainer. Special permits are issued only by the Commissioner's Office. Information can be obtained by calling (410) 767-2239. Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-207

Age 14 or 15

If you are 14 or 15 years old you are not allowed to work at the following jobs:

  • Manufacturing, mechanical or processing occupations including occupations in workrooms, workplaces or storage areas where goods are manufactured or processed.
  • Operation, cleaning or adjusting of any power-driven machinery other than office machines.
  • Occupations in, about or in connection with:
    • scaffolding    
    • a brickyard
    • construction    
    • a lumberyard
    • airports   
    • railroads
    • lye    
    • cids
    • gases    
    • dyes
    • boats engaged in navigation or commerce    
    • occupations causing dust or gases in injurious quantities
    • any occupation "deemed injurious by the Commissioner after investigation".

    However, you can work in the office or do sales work of a company that does these types of work.

Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-213

Time restrictions

Teens cannot work

  • before before 7:00 a.m.
  • from the day after Labor Day through the day before Memorial Day, after 8:00 p.m.;
  • from Memorial Day through Labor Day, after 9:00 p.m.; or
  • more than:
    • 4 hours on a day when school is in session;
    • 8 hours on a day when school is not in session;
    • 23 hours in a week when school is in session for 5 days; or
    • 40 hours in a week when school is not in session.

Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-211

Entertainer Exception - If you get a special work permit, you can work at any age as a model, performer, or entertainer.  The application and permits are available only at the Baltimore Office of the Maryland Department of Labor. Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-207
Money Handling Restrictions - You are not allowed to be employed to transfer money (in any amount) between 8:00 at night and 8:00 in the morning. In addition you cannot transfer more than $100 during the day (8:00am-8:00pm) unless:

  • you are the child of the owner or operator; or
  • the money is payment someone gave you when you delivered something or payment for a job you did.

Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-212

Age 16 or 17

You are completely forbidden from working in certain jobs.  There are certain types of other dangerous jobs where you usually cannot work.  However, for these jobs there may be an exception that will allow you to work.

  • Work in or near plants or establishments that make or store explosives or products that have explosive parts
  • Drive motor vehicles or be an outside helper
  • Work in a mine
  • Work in logging
  • Operate a sawmill, lath mill, shingle mill, cooperage-stock mill
  • Operate a power-driven woodworking machine
  • Work in an environment where you might be exposed to radioactive substances or ionizing radiation
  • Operate an elevator or other power-driven hoisting machine
  • Operate a power-driven metal forming, punching, or shearing machine
  • Work in slaughtering, meat-packing or processing, or rendering
  • Operate certain power-driven bakery machines
  • Operate certain power-driven paper products machines
  • Manufacture brick, tile, and similar products
  • Operate a circular saw, band saw, or guillotine shears
  • Work in wrecking, demolition, or ship-breaking operations
  • Work in roofing operations
  • Work in excavation operations

Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-213

Time Restrictions

  • A minor may not be employed or allowed to be employed for more than 5 consecutive hours without a nonworking period of at least one-half hour.
  • Usually, the total school and work hours of a minor cannot be more than 12 hours.
  • Minor must have at least 8 consecutive hours that are not school or work hours.

Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-203

Fire & Rescue Volunteer Exception - You may work as an unpaid volunteer in a fire station or rescue squad if you have completed a course or you are in training for that type of work.

Entertainer Exception - If you get a special work permit, you can work at any age as a model, performer, or entertainer.  The application and permits are available only at the Baltimore Office of the Department of Labor. Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-207
Money Handling Restrictions - You are not allowed to be employed to transfer money (in any amount) between 8:00 at night and 8:00 in the morning. In addition you cannot transfer more than $100 during the day (8:00am-8:00pm) unless:

  • you are the child of the owner or operator; or
  • the money is payment someone gave you when you delivered something or payment for a job you did.

Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-212

Rules for Everyone Under 18

No one under the age of 18 can work at (or near) the following jobs:

  • Blast furnaces
  • Docks or wharves, other than marinas where pleasure boats are sold or served
  • Pilots, firemen, or engineers on any vessel or boat engaged in commerce
  • Railroads
  • Erection and repair of electrical wires
  • Any distillery where alcoholic beverages are manufactured, bottled, wrapped, or packed
  • The manufacturing of dangerous or toxic chemicals or compounds
  • Cleaning, oiling, or wiping of machinery
  • Any occupation forbidden by any local, state or federal law
  • Any occupation which after investigation by the Commissioner is deemed injurious to the health and welfare of the minor.

Read the Law: MD Code Lab. & Emp. § 3-213

Is this legal advice?

This site offers legal information, not legal advice.  We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options.  However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney.  The Maryland State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site.  In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – www.peoples-law.org. © Maryland State Law Library, 2014.”