Mass. Bill Would Let Teenagers Work Later at Grocery Stores, Other Businesses

BOSTON -- A bill passed unanimously by the Massachusetts state legislature permits 16- and 17-yearolds to work as late as 11:30 p.m., provided it's not on a school night, as part of comprehensive changes to the state's child labor laws, according to published reports.

On school nights, minors can still work only until 10 p.m., and all workers younger than 18 must be supervised by an adult after 8 p.m.

Supermarkets, other retailers, and movie theaters supported the bill, noting that because their businesses stay open later in response to consumers' wishes, workers should be able stay later.

"Supermarkets don't close at 9 o'clock anymore," Rep. Michael J. Rodrigues, Democrat of Westport and chairman of the House Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, told the Boston Globe. "The last movie now starts at 10 o'clock at night. They want employees there when their patrons leave."

The bill would also considerably beef up enforcement against employers that break child labor laws, allowing fines of up to $5,000 for violations of state labor law. Also, the bill would give the state attorney general the power to issue civil violations of up to $2,500 for multiple offenders.

According to a spokesman, Gov. Mitt Romney has 10 days to sign or veto the legislation, and plans to review the bill.
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