U.S. Dept. of Labor: Iowa Child Labor bill ‘inconsistent’ with federal law
DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - A letter sent from the U.S. Department of Labor to Democrats in the Iowa legislature shows that several aspects of the ‘child labor expansion bill’ may violate federal law if signed by the Governor.
Iowa Democrats sent a letter back in March to the U.S. Dept. of Labor voicing their concerns on the proposed bill, which would ease restrictions on how many hours minors could work, and what types of jobs those could be.
SF542 was passed by the Iowa Senate on May 3rd, but Governor Reynolds has not yet signed the bill into law. Legislators made amendments to the bill after the initial inquiry to the Department of Labor by Democrats, but conflicts to federal law appear to remain.
According to the letter, it is “explicitly prohibited” for 14 and 15-year-olds to perform non-incidental work in meat freezers, and it is “likely prohibited” for 14 and 15-year-olds to work in industrial laundries and perform light assembly work under federal law.
The U.S. Department of Labor notes that federal law has limits on the hours 14 and 15 years may work during the school year and summer, and that expanding these hours as proposed in SF542 would violate that.
“This letter confirms what we’ve argued since this debate began: in the rush to expand child labor in Iowa, Republican legislators will be inviting businesses to break federal law,” Sen. Nate Boulton, D-Des Moines, said. “Protections against unsafe and exploitative child labor are there for a reason, and failed measures to address Iowa’s workforce crisis is no excuse to undermine those safeguards.”
You can read the full letter from the U.S. Department of Labor below:
DOL Child Labor Law Response by A.W. Carros on Scribd
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