New Law ALLOWS Child Labor – But There’s A Catch!

( – A bill that rolls back some of the child labor protections involving hours teenagers can work and where they can work has passed in the Iowa Legislature.

The Iowa bill is just one of the bills across the nation that seek to relax child labor protections. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Kim Reynolds, who has said she supports the legislation. The bill allows 14- and 15-year-olds to work for two more hours a day, an increase to six hours, while school is in session.

It also allows for 14- and 15-year-olds to work two hours later, until 9 p.m. except for June 1 to Labor Day when they are allowed to work until 11 p.m. Fourteen- and 15-year-olds would be allowed to work in areas that are currently prohibited.

The bill allows 16- and 17-year-olds to work the same hours an adult works. 

The directors of the education and workforce development departments would be able to provide an exception to work hours and some of the prohibited work activities for those teens 16 and older who are enrolled in qualified work-based learning programs.

Amendments were made including a provision allowing teenagers aged 16 and older working in restaurants to serve alcohol during the hours food is served, if their parent or guardian has given written permission to their employer. Two adults would need to be present when the teen is serving alcohol. 

Training on prevention and response to sexual harassment courses would be taken by teenagers. Employers would be required to notify a teenager’s parent or guardian as well as the state’s civil rights commission if a workplace harassment incident is reported.

Those who support the bill say it allows teens to have more job opportunities. Those who are opposed to the bill say they are concerned teens’ focus could be taken away from school and extracurricular activities.

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