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Maine legislature considers rolling back child labor laws

Under current Maine law, with some exceptions, employers may not work minors aged 16-18 more than 20 hours per week while school is in session. The Maine legislature is considering a bill that would allow employers to work minors aged 16-18 32 hours per week while school is in session. The bill would also change existing law and permit employers to work minors aged 16-18 until 11:00 pm on school nights.

Proponents of the bill argue that teens could use the extra income to save for college. However, critics of the law cite a study which says that teens who work more than 20 hours per week during the school year are at higher risk for bad grades and behavior problems, such as drug use and delinquency. There are certainly pros and cons to this bill. Whether it will result in a net benefit to Mainers is uncertain.