Saturday June 10, 2023

Some U.S. state MPs propose law allowing kids to fill labor shortages

Published : 27 May 2023, 00:59

  DF News Desk
A child rides an electric scooter on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the United States, July 26, 2020. File Photo: Xinhua.

Lawmakers in several U.S. states are embracing legislation to let children work in more hazardous occupations, for more hours on school nights and in expanded roles, including serving alcohol in bars and restaurants as young as 14, reported The Associated Press on Thursday, said Xinhua on Friday.

"The efforts to significantly roll back labor rules are largely led by Republican lawmakers to address worker shortages and, in some cases, run afoul of federal regulations," said the report.

Child welfare advocates worry the measures represent a coordinated push to scale back hard-won protections for minors, it noted.

"The consequences are potentially disastrous," Reid Maki, director of the Child Labor Coalition, which advocates against exploitative labor policies, was quoted as saying. "You can't balance a perceived labor shortage on the backs of teen workers."

Lawmakers proposed loosening child labor laws in at least 10 states over the past two years, according to a report published last month by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. Some bills became law, while others were withdrawn or vetoed, according to the Associated Press report.