Employers have until Dec. 1 to comment on the (DOL)’s proposed child labor regulations for the agricultural sector. That’s one month longer than the original deadline of Nov. 1. The extension was published in the Federal Register Oct. 31.
Released Sept. 2, these are DOL’s first revisions to child farm labor rules in 40 years. Several agricultural groups had requested extra time respond to formulate their responses. Among their concerns, communicated in an Oct. 14 letter:
- youths under 15 years of age could be prohibited from working for any family member other than a parent.
- a prohibition on youth under 15 from working near sexually mature livestock could result in youths not being able to work on certain farms altogether.
Among other things, DOL’s proposed regulations would:
- Strengthen current child labor prohibitions regarding agricultural work with animals in timber operations, manure pits, storage bins and pesticide handling.
- Prohibit hired farm workers under the age of 16 from employment in the cultivation, harvesting and curing of tobacco.
- Prohibit youth in both agricultural and nonagricultural employment from using electronic devices, including communication devices, while operating power-driven equipment.
- Prohibit hired farm workers under the age of 16 from operating almost all power-driven equipment. A similar prohibition has existed as part of the nonagricultural child labor provisions for more than 50 years. A limited exemption would permit some student-learners to operate certain farm implements and tractors (when equipped with proper rollover protection structures and seat belts) under specified conditions.
- Prevent children under 18 years of age from being employed in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm-product raw materials. Prohibited places of employment would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.
More information on the proposed changes can be found online at DOL’s Wage and Hour Divisions web site.