Economy, Budget & Taxes


Extend student work hour limits?

Jun 08, 2018

Current law limits teens to 48 hours of work while they're on vacation and 30 hours during a five-day school week. A recent effort to increase the limit to 56 hours over vacation weeks failed. Proponents say the change would help combat the state's labor shortage and aid those businesses that get fined by the state for violating labor laws because teenagers exceeded work limits. Opponents say longer hours might make the students too tired to do their school work.

Read more about issues related to employee protections in New Hampshire

“Should 16- and 17-year-olds be allowed to work up to 56 hours/week during school vacation?”

Discussion held on Citizens Count NH website and Facebook page May 26, 2018

157 citizens responded104 citizens were in favor of allowing some teens to work more hours36 citizens were opposed to allowing some teens to work more hours17 citizens commented on related questions or issues

What Participants Said

Yes: 104 citizens were in favor of allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to work up to 56 hours a week during school vacation.

  • “If they want the hours, give it to them. It's school vacation.”
  • “I think if the parent approves the amount of hours and the teenager does, they should be able to decide for themselves how much they want to work.”
  • “I think it should be the choice of the individual as long as the employer pays time and a half over forty.”

No: 36 citizens were opposed to allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to work up to 56 hours a week during school vacation.

  • “40-48 hours a week is plenty for a kid. Let them enjoy the small amount of freedom they have left.”
  • “A kid who hasn't graduated high school yet should be making education their priority. There are many years after high school to gather wealth.”
  • “They're minors and this would open them up to exploitation.”

Other: 17 citizens addressed their comments to related questions and issues.
These included:

  • Relevance: “How many actually work during the summer?”
  • Enforcement: “No idea if that law was in effect when I was a kid working 40-50 hours during [the] school year, 60-80 during vacations.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes.

Read the full Facebook discussion of this question

Click here for details on our methodology


Christine Altan
- Exeter

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 12:27pm


As a mother of two working teens, I have witnessed the toll it has taken on my oldest child from working too much during school days. I am proud that my children, aged 14 (who has a work permit) and 16, are willing to spend time making their own money. I see the pride and confidence that has grown and their maturity has definitely been impacted due to their new responsibilities and accountability. However, when my 16-year old was being scheduled for 20+ hours a week during school, her productivity elsewhere was greatly affected. She also had an increased level of stress that I didn't see necessary as well as her priorities being unbalanced. Her schoolwork did suffer and she was exhausted. Unfortunately, her employer put pressure on her to work more. She has since left this job and currently has employment that is more balanced in regards to work/school demands.

During vacations and summer, I am ok with my kids working longer hours, but I also want them to still be kids and enjoy the short-lived phase in their lives when they don't have to experience the insurmountable responsibilities and pressures adults do. They have a lifetime to be adults but only a short window of time to be kids. As parents, we are our children's advocates not only in school but at their workplace as well. We have to be sure we protect our children from being pressured into too many work hours but also allowing them the space to grow and become independent.

Chuck Malias
- Manchester

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 9:01am


Agree with the majority in this survey and Mike D. One survey participant was opposed on the grounds education should trump gathering of wealth. I'm willing to bet these kids are working to help their middle-class parents, pay for car insurance and saving for college.

Mike Dunbar
- Hampton

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 9:24am


During school vacation, 16- and 17-year-olds should have the same right to work that adults do.

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Related Bill

HB 1321 (2018)
Bill Status: Interim Study
Hearing date: Jan 17, 2018


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