Labor Department Abandons Updated Child Labor Laws for the Agricultural Industry


When you think of summer jobs for youth in rural communities, several things may come to mind. You probably imagine a young woman rounding up cattle to send to auction. It is also likely that you imagine a young man baling hay, helping to sort cattle at a feedlot, or driving a tractor and planting crops. Many young men and women living in rural areas do not have the opportunity to work in fast food restaurants, at movie theaters, or retail stores because they are miles and miles away from their homes. They work on farms and ranches, earning money and learning life lessons. Last week, the Department of Labor announced that it was abandoning proposed regulations that would have limited, or eliminated, several of these opportunities.

In August 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that it would revise child labor regulations to strengthen safety requirements for young workers employed in agriculture and related fields. The current agricultural hazardous occupations orders under the Fair Labor Standards Act that acted to bar young workers from specific tasks had not been updated since their promulgation in 1970...

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