Legislators in multiple states are invoking a widespread labor shortage to push bills that would weaken long-standing child labor laws. Some bills go beyond expanding eligibility or working hours for run-of-the-mill teen jobs. They’d make it easier for kids to fill physically demanding roles at potentially hazardous work sites.
Iowa lawmakers are considering Republican legislation that would allow 14- and 15-year-olds to work in industrial laundry services and freezers at meatpacking plants. It’d also prevent many of them from receiving worker’s compensation if they are sickened, injured or killed on the job.
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Photo: State Sen. Jason Shultz, sponsor.
The Iowa legislation is particularly dangerous because it immunizes employers from liability — even in cases of blatant negligence — if the child was killed, maimed or catastrophically injured while in a “work-based learning program” https://t.co/PeZRCnuNwe
— matthew belcher (@matthewbelcher) March 14, 2023
INBOX: the U.S. Solicitor of Labor says states like Iowa don’t have the ability to limit child labor protections set by the Federal Labor Standards Act.
“The Department has and will continue to vigorously enforce child labor protections across the nation.” pic.twitter.com/HqdeYcLmum
— Zachary Oren Smith (@ZacharyOS) March 9, 2023
“Instead of rolling back child-labor laws, we should be working to solve real problems facing Iowa workers and their children.”
— Iowa Sen. Todd Taylor#ialegis pic.twitter.com/e1fQnMD2Sp
— Iowa Senate Democrats (@IowaSenate) March 4, 2023