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Rising child labor violations hurt kids´ ability to stay in school

Washington, May 15 (Prensa Latina) Not only are thousands of kids working longer hours in dangerous occupations, but their numbers are growing; researchers report that the number of kids employed in violation of child labor laws spiked by 37% in 2022 — and by 283% since 2015.

Not only are thousands of kids working longer hours in dangerous occupations, but their numbers in unsafe jobs are growing, Truthout warned.

GOP lawmakers seem unfazed by this, and in at least 10 states (Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin) they are now trying to erode the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protections even further.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, one of the most egregious rollbacks was recently signed into law by Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Under the provision, 14-year-olds will be able to work in meat coolers and industrial laundries; 15-year-olds will be able to work on assembly lines, and 16- and 17-year-olds will be able to serve alcohol.

Pending measures in other states are equally egregious and include an Ohio bill to allow teenagers to work until 9 pm on school nights (two hours later than allowed under the FLSA); a Minnesota bill to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to work in construction; and a New Jersey bill to permit 16- and 17-year-olds to work 50 hours a week during school breaks. SB 542, pending in Iowa, will, if signed by the governor, allow 14-year-olds to work up to six hours a day and will permit 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds to work the same hours as adults.

“State bills to expand the hours and places kids can work may sound innocuous at first glance, but research shows that school completion and grades drop when kids work long hours,” Reid Maki, coordinator of the Child Labor Coalition, a 34-year-old project of the National Consumers League, told Truthout. “Students who work more than 20 hours per week almost always see a decrease in academic performance.”


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