A contentious law that would allow juveniles to work longer hours and in currently restricted professions, such as serving alcohol in restaurants, was passed by the Iowa Senate on Tuesday, as reported by the Des Moines Register.
Those in favor of the law, primarily Republicans, argued that it would help children by allowing them to earn money while still in school, while those opposed, primarily Democrats, claimed that it would hurt them.
In the GOP-controlled Senate, the bill passed 32-17 against the opposition of two Republicans who joined with Democrats to vote against it. To become law, the bill needs the signature of Republican Governor Kim Reynolds and the approval of the Republican-controlled House.
The proposed legislation would increase the daily maximum labor time for minors from four hours to six, a significant increase above the current minimum. With parental consent, it would also legalize the underage sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants by those 16 and 17.
Reynolds is supportive of the idea because “ultimately, parents and kids will decide if they want to work or not,” she added. Kids can learn a lot from it. And I don’t think we should discourage it if they have the time to do it and want to earn some extra money.
Seema Nanda, the chief lawyer at the U.S. Department of Labor, disagrees, calling it “irresponsible for states to consider loosening child labor protections.” Democrats and labor unions have voiced similar concerns, claiming the plan will make young workers more vulnerable to harm in the workplace.
After an investigation found more than a hundred children working overnight and handling hazardous equipment — like skull splitters and bone saws — for a company that cleans slaughterhouses across the country, the Biden administration urged American businesses this month to make sure they aren’t illegally hiring children to perform dangerous jobs.
Officials are worried about the exploitation of children, especially migrant youngsters who may not even have a parent in the United States, and the Labor Department says it has more than 600 child labor investigations active.
Child Labor Law Reform Is Moving Forward In The Lowa Senate
Nonetheless, Seema Nanda, the chief lawyer at the U.S. Department of Labor, said that it is “irresponsible for states to consider loosening child labor protections.”
Both the Democratic Party and labor organizations have voiced concerns that the plan will make the workplace more dangerous for young workers.
After an investigation found over a hundred children working overnight and handling hazardous equipment (such as skull splitters and bone saws) for a company that cleans slaughterhouses across the country, the Biden administration urged American businesses this month to make sure they aren’t illegally hiring children to perform such jobs.
More than 600 investigations into child labor are currently being conducted, according to the Labor Department, and officials are worried about the exploitation of children, especially migratory youngsters who may not even have a parent in the United States.
There Will Soon Be A Vote On The Bill In The House Of Representatives
Numerous state Democrats and labor leaders have spoken out against the law, citing concerns that it could lead to hazardous working conditions for young people.
The Register reports that Democrats want to change the law further so that injured teenage workers would be eligible for more workers’ compensation payouts. Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO President Charlie Wishman sent a statement to Insider calling the bill’s passage a “disgrace,” saying it will “do nothing to attract new Iowans, and puts children at risk of death in dangerous occupations.
“Wishman said that all parents want their children to have a chance at a happy and successful life, not a short one spent in hazardous occupations. Every parent’s greatest nightmare has been passed by the Senate tonight.
Wishman Told Insider That “Democracy Dies In Our State” If The Lowa Senate Continues To Operate In This Way
In a statement to Insider, Iowa Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls called the bill “dangerous” and said it “will allow Iowa kids to serve alcohol, work in roofing and demolition, and inside industrial freezers – and they passed it in the dead of night when they thought they could dodge democratic accountability.”
He continued, saying, “If this measure becomes law, Iowa children would be exposed to dangerous working circumstances that violate federal law and risk their health and wellbeing. This bill is immoral and absurd because it will increase the number of children hurt or killed on the job. Senate Republicans shouldn’t try to fix Iowa’s workforce crisis by putting the burden on the shoulders of the state’s youth.
The Des Moines Register said that Governor Kim Reynolds, who has previously expressed support for the plan, told reporters earlier this month that she does not believe “we should discourage” children from seeking employment and financial independence.
According to the Register, Dickey and other proponents of the plan have stated that it will help students in Iowa gain valuable skills through workforce training programs.
“While the responsibility of having a job might be more valuable than having a paycheck, the reward of the paycheck will allow these youth who want to have a job to possibly save for a car, maybe buy a prom dress, go to summer camp, take a date out on the weekend,” Dickey said, as reported by the Register.
Iowa Senate Has Approved Legislation To Relax Restrictions On Child Labor
Iowa’s capital city of DES MOINES — The Des Moines Register reported on Tuesday that the Iowa Senate has approved a contentious bill that would allow juveniles to work longer hours and in previously prohibited professions, such as selling alcohol in restaurants.
The bill’s Republican backers said that it would help kids by allowing them to earn money while they were still in school, while Democrats claimed it would hurt them.
Despite the fact that two Republicans defected from their party and voted against the bill alongside Democrats, the proposal still cleared the GOP-controlled Senate by a score of 32-17. The bill needs the support of both the Republican-controlled House and Republican Governor Kim Reynolds for passage.
The proposed legislation would increase the daily work limit for children under 16 from four to six hours. If parents or guardians give their consent in writing, it would also let 16- and 17-year-olds work as servers in bars and restaurants.