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Maine lawmakers loosen teen work rules–roll back Child Labor Protections


By Mal Leary, Capitol News Service

Posted May 26, 2011, at 6:13 p.m.
Last modified May 27, 2011, at 9:46 a.m.


AUGUSTA, Maine – Gov. Paul LePage is expected to sign into law legislation allowing 16- and 17-year-olds in Maine to work longer hours during the school year, his office confirmed Thursday. But the legislation provoked lengthy debate before being enacted earlier this week, with some lawmakers arguing students need to be students first.

“In this case Maine has had the most restrictive laws related to 16- and 17-year-olds in the nation,” Sen. Chris Rector, R-Thomaston, the co-chair of the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee, said during debate on the bill.  ”We have been the outliers, far more restrictive than our New England counterparts and far more restrictive than most other states.”

He said the legislation brings Maine more into line with other states, although the bill was considerably watered down from its original version, sponsored by Sen. Debra Plowman, R-Hampden, which would have lifted all restrictions on the number of hours 16-year-olds could work while school is not in session. It also would have repealed all limitations on the hours a 17-year-old may work.

As amended by lawmakers, the limit for both age groups is 24 hours in a week, with a six-hour-per-day limit, up from the current four-hour limit per day. It also bans work after 10:15 p.m. on a day preceding a school day.

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Bill eases Child Labor Restrictions in Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine—A bill to ease Maine’s child labor restrictions faces further House and Senate action after winning preliminary House approval.

Assistant Senate Republican Leader Debra Plowman’s bill would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to work longer hours and more often while school is in session.

Those teen-agers would be allowed to work as many as 24 hours rather than the 20 per week under current law. The bill would also increase from four to six the number of hours students can work on school days. The Sun Journal of Lewiston says the bill won preliminary House approval Wednesday.

A separate bill that sought to allow lower minimum wages for youths and remove limits on their school-week work hours has been killed.

Information from: Sun-Journal, http://www.sunjournal.comRead the rest

Maine’s Child Labor Laws Come Under Scrutiny

by Rob Poindexter

Augusta – Hearings began in Augusta Friday on a bill that would weaken some of Maine’s child labor laws.

Representative David Burns of Whiting is the sponsor of the legislation. It calls for limiting minimum wage for high school students to $5.25 per hour for their first six months on the job. It also would let high schoolers work more than the 20 hours per week they’re currently restricted to during the school year.

Opponents say if the bill passes it would open the door for employers to take advantage of the student workers. “This is nothing more than a shortsighted effort by certain employers to hire more of Maine’s teens for lower wages, for longer hours, later at night, during the school year,” said Sarah Standiford of the Maine’s Women’s Lobby.  Read more

Bill Nemitz: GOP bills exploit kids in workplace

Portland Press Herald

By Bill Nemitz

Staff Writer

Talk about a diversionary tactic.

While Gov. Paul LePage has much of Maine in a lather over where he’s hiding the now infamous Department of Labor lobby mural (pssst … look in the electrical closet!), Republicans in the Legislature are hard at work ramming through something infinitely more troubling.

They want to put Maine’s kids to work longer, later and for less money. Read more