Labor Department Withdraws Child Labor Proposal

Youth can continue working on family farms, thanks to the U.S. Department of Labor’s response to family farmers’ concerns.

by Dani Yokhna
Youth working on farm
Courtesy Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/ Thinkstock

The voices of thousands of concerned family farmers opposed to the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed child labor-law revisions were heard at the end of April, when the department decided to withdraw a proposal to redefine “parental exemption” and prevent children under the age of 16 from working on family farms.

According to a statement from the labor department, the regulation will not be pursued for the remainder of the Obama administration. The labor department will instead work with the USDA and other farming organizations to develop an education program that will promote safer on-farm working practices and reduce accidents involving young workers.

The labor department’s decision received praise from a number of state farm bureaus as well as the American Farm Bureau Federation, who say this is a step in protection the U.S. family-based agriculture system.

The AFBF is one of the farming organizations the labor department plans to collaborate with in developing educational programming.

“We look forward to any opportunity to discuss locally controlled educational and training opportunities that protect the sanctity of the family farm,” says Tracy Taylor Grondine, AFBF media relations director.


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