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Iowa child labor law conflicts with national restrictions on dangerous workplaces, feds say

Iowa child labor law conflicts with national restrictions on dangerous workplaces, feds say
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Iowa child labor law conflicts with national restrictions, feds say  Des Moines Register

Iowa’s New Child Labor Law Conflicts with Federal Regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor has stated that Iowa’s new child labor law contradicts federal regulations by relaxing certain restrictions on teenagers working in potentially dangerous conditions. In a letter to Democratic lawmakers, Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda and Wage and Hour Division Principal Deputy Administrator Jessica Looman responded to questions raised by Iowa Democrats regarding the implementation of Senate File 542.

Loosened Restrictions and Violations of Federal Law

Iowa’s recently signed law, enacted by Governor Kim Reynolds in May, eases restrictions on some child labor regulations in the state. However, the Department of Labor officials argue that the changes made to restrictions for workers aged 16 and 17 in potentially dangerous fields violate federal law. The Iowa law allows minors aged 16 and 17 to work in demolition, heavy manufacturing, and operate certain power-driven machines, which are prohibited for minors under national child labor laws.

  1. Violation of Federal Registration Requirements

Furthermore, Iowa’s law conflicts with federal regulations because it does not require the registration of employers or student-learner programs employing teens in potentially dangerous fields through learning programs. Federal law mandates that training and work-study programs must register with the U.S. Department of Labor or a state agency to ensure compliance with state and federal standards.

  1. Penalties for Non-Compliance

Despite the relaxation of requirements in state code, most employers in Iowa are still subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The letter from Nanda and Looman emphasizes that employers who violate federal standards may face penalties.

Additional Conflicts with Federal Code

The conflict with federal child labor law extends beyond the aforementioned violations. Labor officials previously highlighted that Iowa’s law allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to perform certain tasks and expanding hours permitted for workers in this age group also contradicts federal law.

Monitoring Iowa’s Implementation

The Department of Labor officials have expressed their intention to closely monitor Iowa’s implementation of the law to assess any potential obstruction of federal child labor protections.

Reactions and Criticisms

Democratic Senator Nate Boulton warns employers that hiring young people for illegal jobs could put their businesses at risk. He criticizes the child-labor expansion forced into law by Republican politicians and Governor Reynolds, stating that it exposes children to hazardous environments and creates bureaucratic confusion for employers.

During the 2023 legislative session, Democrats repeatedly criticized the areas where the proposal conflicted with federal child labor law. Republicans, on the other hand, argued that existing Iowa child labor law and laws in other states also conflict with federal standards.

Child Labor Law Changes in Multiple States

Iowa is one of several states that have passed laws in 2023 rolling back child labor regulations. These changes come as many states, including Iowa, face workforce shortages. However, Republicans have stated that the measure was not intended to address Iowa’s need for workers.

Harm to Employers and Workers

Representative Jeff Cooling argues that the new law hurts both employers and workers. He believes that child labor is not a solution to Iowa’s workforce shortage and should never be considered as such.

This story is from Iowa Capital Dispatch, part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: info@iowacapitaldispatch.com.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth Target 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms. No specific indicators mentioned in the article.
SDG 4: Quality Education Target 4.4: By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs, and entrepreneurship. No specific indicators mentioned in the article.

1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

The article discusses Iowa’s new child labor law that eases some restrictions on teenagers working in potentially dangerous conditions. This is connected to SDG 8, which aims to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.

SDG 4: Quality Education

The article mentions that the new law allows minors to work longer hours and in restricted fields with dangerous working conditions as part of a work-study program or employer training. This is connected to SDG 4, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?

Target 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms.

The article highlights that the new child labor law in Iowa eases some restrictions on teenagers working in potentially dangerous conditions. This target aims to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, including hazardous work, and ensure that all children are protected from exploitation in the labor market.

Target 4.4: By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs, and entrepreneurship.

The article mentions that the new law allows minors to work in restricted fields with dangerous working conditions as part of a work-study program or employer training. This target aims to ensure that youth have relevant skills for employment and decent work opportunities.

3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?

No specific indicators are mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets.

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: desmoinesregister.com

 

Iowa child labor law conflicts with national restrictions on dangerous workplaces, feds say

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