New Child Labor Laws Proposed

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is one of the oldest federal employment laws. The FLSA sets forth certain requirements that impact nearly every employee who works for a wage in the United States. These requirements include the minimum wage provision and overtime pay. Pursuant to federal law, employees must be paid at least the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25/hour and all non-exempt employees must be paid time and a half for every hour worked in excess of 40 in any workweek.

In addition to provisions concerning overtime pay and minimum wage, the FLSA also covers child labor laws. Recently the Department of Labor has proposed new federal laws seeking to amend current child labor laws to make them stricter and afford child workers performing agricultural work more protections.

If you have questions concerning the FLSA, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable Georgia worker’s rights attorney to answer your questions and ensure you are being treated properly under the law.

Among the changes include:

  • Prohibiting children under 18 from working at grain elevators, silos, feedlots, and livestock auctions and from transporting raw farm materials.
  • Prohibiting children under age 16 who are being paid from operating most power-driven equipment, including combines and tractors. Where student-learners are allowed to operate the equipment, ensuring that the machinery has seat belts and rollover protection.
  • Prohibiting those children 15 and younger from much work involving tobacco, including cultivating, curing, and harvesting to prevent tobacco sickness; and
  • Banning cellphone use and other electronic devices while operating power equipment.

However, children aged 12-15 would still be able to work for pay at non-hazardous farm jobs.

The proposed regulations were written in response to a growing concern about keeping children safe, with statistics estimating that in 2009 more than 15,000 youths were injured while performing farm jobs. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis notes that after reviewing the evidence, some farm jobs are simply “too hazardous for children to be engaged in.”

For more information about the proposed amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act or if you believe you or your child’s employer has violated terms of the FLSA, please contact an experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyer at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for a confidential case evaluation.