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Businesses are caught in the middle of conflicting child labor laws. How do they vary?

Businesses are caught in the middle of conflicting child labor laws. How do they vary?
Written by ZJbTFBGJ2T

Iowa’s child labor laws conflict with federal regulations. Here’s how.  Des Moines Register

Iowa Lawmakers Approve Changes to Child Labor Law

Businesses are caught in the middle of conflicting child labor laws. How do they vary?

Iowa lawmakers have recently approved changes to the state’s child labor law, making it easier for minors to work for Iowa businesses. However, these changes are in conflict with stricter federal requirements, leading to businesses facing consequences for following the state’s rules.

The increase in illegal child employment cases across the country, starting in 2022, has prompted the U.S. Department of Labor to take enforcement action against businesses in Iowa and other states with less stringent child labor laws. Despite state law permitting younger employees and longer work hours, business owners of all sizes are now facing hefty fines.

Why did Iowa pass changes to its child labor law?

The legislation was signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds in response to businesses struggling to find employment.

Why can the Labor Department punish Iowa businesses for following state law?

The Supremacy Clauses within the Constitution of the United States play a role in this situation. Generally, federal laws and the federal Constitution take precedence over state laws and state constitutions. State laws can only add to the protections provided by federal standards. When state law is less strict, federal law becomes the minimum standard, rendering the state law ineffective.

According to Iowa State Sen. Nate Boulton, D-Des Moines, who is also a workers’ rights attorney, “You can add to those protections but you can’t undermine them with state law. And that was done in the state legislative process.”

Did Iowa have warning that the federal government would enforce child labor laws in the state?

Senate Democrats raised concerns about the expansion of the scope of work for child labor that conflicted with federal regulations. However, the response to these concerns was not sufficient, and businesses were misled by the changes in state law, resulting in federal investigations and potential major fines.

What are the fines for violating federal child labor laws?

The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division has investigated several Iowa restaurants and issued fines amounting to tens of thousands of dollars for businesses that violated federal regulations. Fines are issued per offense, meaning that each violation discovered by an investigation results in additional fines for business owners.

In 2023, the total amount of civil penalties for child labor cases surpassed $8 million, representing a significant increase from 2022.

How late can minors work under Iowa and federal child labor laws?

Iowa’s recent labor law changes allow children between 14 and 15 years old to work as late as 9 p.m. on school days, and until 11 p.m. during the summer months between June 1 and Labor Day. This is two hours later than the federal standard.

Under federal law, children between 14 and 15 years old can work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the school year, and until 9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day.

How many hours can minors work?

The number of hours minors can work varies by age according to both state and federal laws.

Under Iowa state law, children between 14 and 15 years old can work up to six hours on school days and have a maximum of 28 hours per week during the school year. Children aged 16 to 17 may work the same number of hours per day as adults.

Federal law restricts children between 14 and 15 years old to three hours of work on school days, including Fridays, and a maximum of 18 hours per week during the school year. On non-school days, they can work up to eight hours, with a maximum of 40 hours per week when school is out of session. There are no restrictions on the number of weekly hours or times of day for children aged 16 and older under federal law.

What jobs can minors work?

Under Iowa state law, children aged 16 to 17 can work in jobs that were previously banned for minors, as long as they participate in an approved training program with adequate supervision and safety precautions. However, jobs involving explosives, poisonous dyes, and other hazardous tasks are still off-limits for minors. With parental permission, 16- and 17-year-olds can serve alcohol in restaurants.

Federal law sets an 18-year age minimum for certain hazardous jobs, and all 14- and 15-year-olds are prohibited from working in occupations listed under the hazardous occupations orders. There are 17 occupations with either a partial or total ban for minors.

  • They are prohibited from working in transportation, construction, warehousing, communications, and public utilities.
  • They may not work in processing, mining, manufacturing or processing workplaces, freezers, or meat coolers.
  • They may not operate power-driven machinery, except office machines.
  • They may not perform baking operations.
  • They may not be employed in youth peddling, sign waving, or door-to-door sales activities.
  • They may not work from ladders, scaffolds, or their substitutes.
  • They may not be employed to catch or coop poultry.

It is important for businesses in Iowa to be aware of these regulations and ensure compliance to avoid fines and penalties.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth 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 – Increase in illegal child employment cases across the country
– Enforcement action taken by the U.S. Department of Labor against businesses in Iowa and other states
– Hefty fines imposed on businesses for violating federal child labor laws
SDG 4: Quality Education 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 – Expansion of working hours for children under 16 in Iowa’s labor laws
– State law allowing children as young as 14 years old to work up to six hours on school days

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

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

The article discusses the conflict between state and federal child labor laws in Iowa, which relates to the goal of promoting decent work and economic growth. The enforcement action taken by the U.S. Department of Labor against businesses in Iowa highlights the need to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and eliminate the worst forms of child labor.

SDG 4: Quality Education

The article also touches on the expansion of working hours for children under 16 in Iowa’s labor laws. This connects to the goal of providing quality education by addressing the skills and employment opportunities available to young people.

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 increase in illegal child employment cases across the country and the enforcement action taken by the U.S. Department of Labor against businesses in Iowa. These actions aim to address child labor issues and work towards the elimination of 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 expansion of working hours for children under 16 in Iowa’s labor laws and the provision allowing children as young as 14 years old to work up to six hours on school days relate to the target of equipping youth with relevant skills for employment and decent jobs.

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

– Increase in illegal child employment cases across the country: This indicator reflects the prevalence of child labor and can be used to assess progress in eradicating forced labor and eliminating the worst forms of child labor.
– Enforcement action taken by the U.S. Department of Labor against businesses in Iowa and other states: This indicates efforts to secure the prohibition of child labor and address violations of federal child labor laws.
– Hefty fines imposed on businesses for violating federal child labor laws: This indicator demonstrates the consequences faced by businesses that fail to comply with child labor regulations, contributing to the elimination of the worst forms of child labor.
– Expansion of working hours for children under 16 in Iowa’s labor laws: This indicates a change in policy that may impact the well-being and education of young workers.
– State law allowing children as young as 14 years old to work up to six hours on school days: This reflects a specific provision that affects the employment opportunities and educational experiences of young individuals.

4. Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth 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 – Increase in illegal child employment cases across the country
– Enforcement action taken by the U.S. Department of Labor against businesses in Iowa and other states
– Hefty fines imposed on businesses for violating federal child labor laws
SDG 4: Quality Education 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 – Expansion of working hours for children under 16 in Iowa’s labor laws
– State law allowing children as young as 14 years old to work up to six hours on school days

Source: desmoinesregister.com

 

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