8. DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

As child labor violations increase nationally, here’s what the data shows for Wisconsin

As child labor violations increase nationally, here’s what the data shows for Wisconsin
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Here’s what Wisconsin child labor violation data shows  Post-Crescent

Child Labor Violations in Wisconsin

As child labor violations have made news in recent months, both locally and nationally, The Post-Crescent requested state and federal data to understand the kinds of cases that Wisconsin is seeing.

Most of the state’s violations occurred in the food services industry, and involved work permits and hours, according to the information that The Post-Crescent received.

Across the country, there’s been a “a significant increase in children being employed illegally,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

Meanwhile, lawmakers at the state and national levels have responded in different ways.

What’s happened in Wisconsin?

Last summer, a 16-year-old boy died from injuries while working at a Florence sawmill. A subsequent investigation revealed that Florence Hardwoods “illegally employed nine children to operate hazardous machinery,” according to the agency. The company agreed to pay over $190,000 in penalties in that case, but has since pushed back against allegations from other investigations.

Separately, Packers Sanitation Services, based in Kieler, paid $1.5 million in penalties last year after employing more than 100 children in hazardous occupations across multiple states.

Where did the data come from?

The Post-Crescent received information from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which enforces child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Equal Rights Division, which issues permits and enforces the employment of minors laws in the state, along with the federal government.

What does the federal data show?

Wisconsin had 173 child labor violations in the 2023 fiscal year, which ran from October 2022 through this past September. Compared to its neighboring states, Illinois had 54, Michigan had 306, and Minnesota had 385.

Of Wisconsin’s 173 violations, 124 were related to hours standards for 14- and 15-year-olds in non-agriculture positions. A far smaller amount involved jobs that are considered hazardous for minors, and other regulations.

Most of the violations, 64.7%, occurred in the food services industry.

How about state data?

Wisconsin recorded 62 minor employment complaints in 2023. This figure is based on complaints received by law, referring to Wis. Stat. 103.64-103.83. The state also tracks complaints received by basis, and those numbers may vary, since one complaint may have multiple bases under the same law.

Previously, the state had 80 complaints in 2022, 42 in 2021, 25 in 2020 and 25 in 2019. The increase in 2022 was “largely due to a mid-2021 policy update DWD made to require less information to submit a child labor law complaint,” according to John Dipko, spokesperson for the Department of Workforce Development.

“Most child labor cases involve verification of work permits where those are required, and verifying compliance with the times and hours of work rules,” he said.

How are legislators responding?

Lawmakers across the country have introduced legislation that would loosen child labor laws.

Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Assembly approved a bill eliminating work permit requirement for 14- and 15-year-olds, according to a Feb. 13 article from the Associated Press.

“The proposal doesn’t change state law governing how many hours minors can work or prohibiting them from working dangerous jobs,” the article states.

Meanwhile, members of Congress, including from Wisconsin, have also worked to enhance enforcement.

Reach Becky Jacobs at bjacobs@gannett.com or 920-993-7117. Follow her on Twitter at @ruthyjacobs.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Addressed or Connected to the Issues Highlighted in the Article:

  1. SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
  2. SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
  3. SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

Specific Targets 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.
  • Target 10.7: Facilitate orderly, safe, regular, and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.
  • Target 16.2: End abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence against and torture of children.

Indicators Mentioned or Implied in the Article:

  • Number of child labor violations in Wisconsin (indicator for Target 8.7)
  • Number of minor employment complaints in Wisconsin (indicator for Target 8.7)
  • Number of child labor violations in neighboring states (indicator for Target 8.7)

Table: 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. – Number of child labor violations in Wisconsin
– Number of minor employment complaints in Wisconsin
– Number of child labor violations in neighboring states
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities Target 10.7: Facilitate orderly, safe, regular, and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies. N/A
SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions Target 16.2: End abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence against and torture of children. N/A

Explanation:
– The article highlights child labor violations in Wisconsin, which are directly related to Target 8.7 of SDG 8. The number of child labor violations in Wisconsin and neighboring states serves as indicators for measuring progress towards this target.
– The article also mentions minor employment complaints in Wisconsin, which are another indicator for measuring progress towards Target 8.7 of SDG 8.
– Although not explicitly mentioned in the article, Target 10.7 of SDG 10 is indirectly connected to the issues discussed, as it aims to ensure safe and responsible migration and mobility of people.
– Similarly, Target 16.2 of SDG 16 is indirectly connected to the issues discussed, as it aims to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and violence against children.

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: postcrescent.com

 

As child labor violations increase nationally, here’s what the data shows for Wisconsin

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