8. DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

State Child Labor Penalties Expand in Pushback on Relaxed Limits

State Child Labor Penalties Expand in Pushback on Relaxed Limits
Written by ZJbTFBGJ2T

State Child Labor Penalties Expand in Pushback on Relaxed Limits  Bloomberg Law

Countermovement Emerges to Strengthen Child Labor Laws

State Child Labor Penalties Expand in Pushback on Relaxed Limits

A countermovement is emerging among certain state lawmakers to strengthen enforcement of child labor laws and increase penalties against businesses that violate them, even as bills to loosen these protections in other states continue to advance.

Colorado Takes Action

Colorado, in particular, is set to tighten its child labor restrictions for a second straight year. A bill on its way to Gov. Jared Polis (D) aims to encourage underage employees to report illegal working conditions to the state by banning employer retaliation, eliminating potential criminal liability for their parents or guardians from Colorado law, and making final orders of a company’s violations public.

This bill, passed by the state’s legislators on May 7, is perhaps the broadest effort against child labor of 2024 thus far. Lawmakers from Oregon to Virginia also have pushed back on what’s been a source of heated legislative debate in other states.

Legislative Activity Across the Country

In Florida, a new law eases work-schedule restrictions for minors, while a bill awaiting Alabama’s governor would end youth work permit requirements.

The legislative activity coincides with increased findings of violations around the country and reports of egregious cases such as young teens working overnight to clean meatpacking plants, prompting federal investigations of Tyson Foods Inc. and Perdue Farms Inc.

Importance of Tighter Child Labor Restrictions

Advocates for tighter child labor restrictions say legislation like Colorado’s is necessary to crack down on violators. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlight the importance of protecting children’s rights and ensuring their well-being, which includes safeguarding them from exploitative labor practices.

Industry-Led Push for Relaxing Restrictions

Business groups primarily in the construction, hotel, restaurant, and retail industries, which complain of worker shortages, are helping drive state legislative proposals to relax child labor restrictions. However, it is crucial to strike a balance between providing work opportunities for teenagers and protecting their rights as outlined in the SDGs.

Joint Employer Liability

A key part of combating illegal child labor is holding the right parties accountable. This means ensuring state and federal agencies can penalize companies at the top of a supply chain for violations even when a subcontractor or smaller business partner is the employer of record for the underage workers. State legislatures should consider imposing joint liability in the child labor context, similar to laws addressing wage theft in the construction industry.

Existing statutes such as the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) allow for potential joint employer liability, but the case law that has evolved over the years makes it challenging for regulatory agencies to hold large companies accountable. The US Department of Labor’s pursuit of Perdue and Tyson is an example of the federal agency pressing the joint employer issue in a child labor case.

By emphasizing the SDGs and focusing on strengthening child labor laws, states can ensure the protection and well-being of young workers while promoting sustainable development.

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 reported
– Number of final orders of company violations made public
– Amount of damages ordered to be paid to underage workers
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 – Number of underage workers gaining work experience through age-appropriate work opportunities
SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions Target 16.2: End abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence against and torture of children – Number of underage workers subjected to abuse or exploitation
– Number of cases of child labor investigated and prosecuted

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

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

The article addresses the issue of child labor and the need to strengthen enforcement of child labor laws. SDG 8 focuses on promoting sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. The issue of child labor is directly connected to this goal as it involves ensuring that children are not engaged in exploitative and hazardous work.

SDG 4: Quality Education

The article mentions the importance of teenagers gaining work experience while still in high school. SDG 4 aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. By providing age-appropriate work opportunities, teenagers can develop relevant skills for employment and entrepreneurship.

SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

The article discusses the need to hold the right parties accountable for illegal child labor and ensure that companies at the top of the supply chain can be penalized. SDG 16 focuses on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels. Holding companies accountable for child labor violations contributes to achieving this goal.

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

The article highlights the efforts to strengthen enforcement of child labor laws and increase penalties against businesses that violate them. This aligns with Target 8.7, which aims to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.

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 the importance of teenagers gaining work experience while still in high school. This aligns with Target 4.4, which aims to provide relevant skills for employment and entrepreneurship.

Target 16.2: End abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence against and torture of children

The article discusses the need to hold the right parties accountable for illegal child labor and ensure that companies at the top of the supply chain can be penalized. This aligns with Target 16.2, which aims to end abuse and exploitation of children.

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

The article provides several indicators that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets:

  • Number of child labor violations reported
  • Number of final orders of company violations made public
  • Amount of damages ordered to be paid to underage workers
  • Number of underage workers gaining work experience through age-appropriate work opportunities
  • Number of underage workers subjected to abuse or exploitation
  • Number of cases of child labor investigated and prosecuted

4. 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 reported
– Number of final orders of company violations made public
– Amount of damages ordered to be paid to underage workers
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 – Number of underage workers gaining work experience through age-appropriate work opportunities
SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions Target 16.2: End abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence against and torture of children – Number of underage workers subjected to abuse or exploitation
– Number of cases of child labor investigated and prosecuted

Copyright: Dive into this article, curated with care by SDG Investors Inc. Our advanced AI technology searches through vast amounts of data to spotlight how we are all moving forward with the Sustainable Development Goals. While we own the rights to this content, we invite you to share it to help spread knowledge and spark action on the SDGs.

Fuente: news.bloomberglaw.com

 

The Forgotten History of the Child Labor Amendment

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