NSC Labor Division news Legislation

Bill targeting child labor scofflaws to be introduced in House


Washington — Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Alma Adams (D-NC) plan to introduce legislation that would increase penalties for child labor law violations.

According to a June 29 press release from Democrats on the House Education and Labor Committee, of which Scott is the ranking member, the Protecting Children Act would also:

  • Increase civil and criminal penalties for unsafe workplaces, as well as on-the-job injuries and deaths involving young workers.
  • Strengthen the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division’s ability to prevent the sale and movement of goods produced in violation of child labor rules.
  • Expand capacity for enforcement, research and data.
  • Improve the process for updating child labor rules and prohibit any future “weakening” of those rules.
  • Establish initiatives to keep policymakers and the public informed about child labor enforcement and training young workers on their rights.

The release cites Wage and Hour Division data showing that “the number of children employed in violation of child labor laws has nearly quadrupled and the number of children illegally employed in dangerous jobs has almost doubled since 2015.”

Two other bills concerning child labor are under consideration in the House: the Justice for Exploited Children Act of 2023 (H.R. 2388) and the Combating Child Labor Act (H.R. 2956).

“Recent reporting has demonstrated that children continue to lose their lives and suffer devastating injuries because they work in hazardous jobs,” Scott says in the release. “Children should be learning and growing in schools, not risking their safety and lives in dangerous workplaces.

“The Protecting Children Act takes long-overdue steps to strengthen child labor laws and implement serious consequences for endangering children on the job.”

In a June 6 letter sent to Rep. Virginia Foxx (R- NC), Scott and Adams asked the Education and Labor Committee chair to schedule a hearing on child labor violations. In a statement obtained by Safety+Health, Foxx countered that their request is “all for show.”

She contends that “my Republican colleagues covered the rise in illegal migrant child labor thoroughly during our hearing with acting Labor Secretary Julie Su (on June 7). Additionally, committee Republicans requested a briefing from DOL on this issue and we are working with DOL to determine a time.”

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