AUGUSTA- Summertime is around the corner, which means students will soon be out of school and looking for jobs. Luckily there are tons of businesses hiring.
“All of our unemployment decreases in summer because Maine gains a net of 38,000 jobs every summer,” said Julie Rabinowitz, Director of Communication at the Maine Department of Labor.
In a state where tourism is such a big industry, many companies operate seasonally. This ranges from ice cream shops to hotels, to seasonal stores. For young students, summer is a great time to earn some extra cash.
“We try to hire 16-year-old’s, but sometimes we hire 15-year-old’s,” said Dan Costain, owner of Sawyer’s Dairy Bar.
Even though there is a willingness for kids to work and ample job opportunities available, there are still a few laws that stand in the way. In fact, 14-year-old’s are prohibited from working at all and 15-year-old’s can work, but only under strict limitations by law. 16 and 17-year-old’s can work but they are only allowed a certain number of hours per week. The Maine department of labor thinks these laws are old fashioned and they are doing what they can to get them fixed before this summer.
“We don’t want to punish people for working and making money and that money could be used to pay for their education so it’s really important that we make these laws modern and work for the people of Maine,” said Rabinowitz.
Maine is one of the only states that prohibits 15-year-old’s from working in movie theaters bowling allies, and the hospitality industry. A proposed bill aims to change that as long as a child has parental consent. In addition it would allow 16 and 17-year-old’s to work up to 50 hours and 7 days a week, allowing them to work more than one job. Currently the law restricts them to work 24 hours and 6 days per week.
“For such a hospitality and tourism driven industry, we think those are good jobs and good paying jobs that Maine students should be allowed to apply for,” said Rabinowitz.
Those who oppose the bill are concerned about child safety. If passed, a preamble would make it effective immediately.