TRENTON – Teenagers can now work longer hours each summer in New Jersey, under a bill signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Phil Murphy.

The state expanded working hours for minors between ages 16 and 18 last summer, allowing them to work as many as 50 hours a week rather than 40. That change is now permanent each summer, and the working hours for minors who are 14 and 15 are also now expanded to mirror federal laws.

The new law also increases the amount of time that a minor may work before a break is required from five hours to six.

Business groups had pushed for the bill’s enactment.

“We are pleased Gov. Murphy signed this bill into law today as it will help employers find more workers, allow teens more work hours and more pay, and help New Jersey residents and visitors avoid longer summer waits and lines at their favorite destinations,” said Michele Siekerka, president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association.

“Workforce capacity remains a big issue in New Jersey, as well as around the country,” Siekerka said. “By permanently expanding the workweek for 16- and 17-year-olds from 40 to 50 hours and allowing the same age group to work up to 10 hours a day, instead of eight, employers will have more flexibility in their scheduling at this most important time of the season.”

The Senate approved the bill unanimously, 40-0, last Wednesday. The Assembly approved it 74-3, with Assemblyman Christian Barranco, R-Morris, Assemblywoman Aura Dunn, R-Morris, and Assemblyman Erik Peterson, R-Hunterdon, opposed.

In the long run, the new law also removes schools from the process of issuing working papers to minors and switches it to a Department of Labor and Workforce Development centralized database. That part of the law doesn’t start until June 2023.

Teenagers would register once, not each time they get a new job. A teen’s parents or caregivers would have to authorize their work through the database.

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Employers with workers under age 18 will be required to register with the state database.

Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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