us department of labor cites surge in child
US – The US Department of Labor has highlighted that during the summer months, many employers increase hiring of young workers to meet the increased demand of their services. As underlined by the DOL website, “Across the nation in 2022, millions of teenagers are working in the agriculture, food services, retail, recreation and construction industries.” Furthermore, there has been a rise in child labor violations across the country, prompting the U.S. Department of Labor “stepping up employer outreach and enforcement actions to help employers prevent young workers’ jobs from jeopardizing their safety, health or educational opportunities”.
Wage and Hour Division department of the US Department of Labor has recorded a consistent increase in child labor violations and investigations since 2015. In 2021, the division revealed that 2,819 minors were violated of the labor rights and slamming employers with $3.4 million in penalties. The division has also found deaths of young workers highlighting the dangerous working environments for young adults and children.
“The safety of young workers and significant reductions in child labor violations are top priorities for the U.S. Department of Labor,” said Principal Deputy Wage and Hour Division Administrator Jessica Looman. “Employers who choose to hire young workers have a legal responsibility to know and abide by the federal laws that govern their employment. These obligations include eliminating all exposures to hazardous occupations and prohibited equipment, and preventing young workers from suffering serious injuries or worse.”
“In recent years, we have seen increases in child labor violations, and the Wage and Hour Division is determined to significantly reduce child labor injuries and violations,” Looman added. “We encourage employers, young workers and their parents, and educators to take advantage of our YouthRules! initiative that promotes positive and safe work experiences for young workers.”
In order to assist employers who employ child labor, and also ensure safe and rightful working conditions for the children, US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has launched a website offering “Seven Child Labor Best Practices for Employees”.