The governor of Maine has now signed a bill into law that will roll back some of the protections placed to ensure that businesses protect employees under the age of 18.
Governor Paul LePage has signed legislation allowing teens to work up to 50 hours a week, as well as up to 8 hours a day after school, when maximum conditions are met.
Via Digital Journal:
Generally, the hourly increases under the law are modest. The daily maximum increased from 4 to 6 hours per day, with the total during a full week of school rising from 20 to 24 hours. These standards apply on weeks that have at least three days of school, and except both the first and last week of school. However, the maximum, under certain circumstances, nearly doubles. A child may work 8 hours following school on the last scheduled school day of that week, and 50 hours per week during any week that has three or fewer school days. A child may also work until 10:15PM on any school night. This means, that with respect to enforcement, a child may, on any given day be working until 10:15PM without appearing to violate the statute, unless the child’s full schedule is documented, documented correctly, and such documentation is available for inspection.
According to the Journal, argument revolved around the fact that teens make up a large percentage of the minimum wage jobs in the state. No doubt many businesses have an interest in maximizing the amount of work that can be done by these low income earners, rather than actually provide a higher, living wage for the work so that employees who don’t need to be in school, but also have to support themselves and possibly families, can afford to take those jobs.
Luckily, the additional proposal to create a subminimum wage for workers under age 20 appears to have failed.
Maine currently has an 8 percent unemployment rate.
LaPage, who says he worked since the age of 11, claims the change in law is “not a big deal.” “Work never hurt anybody.”
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