U.S. Department of Labor Opens National Teen Dialogue

U.S. Department of Labor Opens National Teen Worker Dialogue

The U.S. Department of Labor is creating a national online dialogue dedicated to teen safety in the workplace through April 30, 2021.

The U.S. Department of Labor is creating a national online dialogue dedicated to teen safety in the workplace through April 30, 2021. The invitation isn’t only for teens but also for employers, parents, educators and stakeholders.

Insights received will be used to determine different and effective ways to enhance existing efforts to help teenagers avoid workplace hazards, the types of work they’re allowed to do, age restrictions for work hours, training, wage requirements, apprenticeships and discrimination.

According to a press release, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports in the U.S. workforce, as of 2020, there are 4.7 million workers in between the ages of 16 and 19. In the fiscal year of 2020, there were 850 investigations recorded of child labor violations by its Wage and Hour Division. It estimates teens ages 15 through 19 require emergency room treatment approximately every five minutes.

An example of a violation of child labor laws is a Pennsylvania Youth Club facing $103,000 for willful violations. According to a press release, the actions follow an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found the organization hired 17 minors, some as young as 12 years old, to work illegally as door-to-door salespeople selling candy. The employer permitted the teens to work during prohibited work ours and failed to maintain records; both are in violation with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“Protecting our youngest workers continues to be a top priority for the Wage and Hour Division,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director James Cain, in Philadelphia. “Child labor laws ensure that when young people work, the work does not jeopardize their health, well-being or educational opportunities. Employers of minors have a responsibility to understand their obligations under the law, and to comply with those requirements. This case should serve as notice to other employers who may be employing minors in similar circumstances.” 

The dialogue is hosted by the department’s Office of Disability Act, OSHA, Wage and Hour Division, Office of Compliance Initiatives and Employment and Training Administration. The dialogue is part of ODEP’s ePolicyWorks initiative.

You can register for the national dialogue here.

About the Author

Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

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