Minnesota Farmers Union, along with numerous other farm organizations, is pleased with the news that the Department of Labor has decided to back off and change a plan that would have restricted children's work on farms.
"The proposed rules lacked common sense and went too far. I am glad the Department of Labor has listened to the concerns of Minnesota Farmers Union family farmers and National Farmers Union and decided to back off from their original proposal," said Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union president.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division recently announced that it will re-propose the portion of its regulation on child labor in agriculture interpreting the "parental exemption."
The decision to re-propose is in part a response to requests from the public and members of Congress that the agency allow an opportunity for more input on this aspect of the rule.
The parental exemption allows children of any age who are employed by their parent, or a person standing in the place of a parent, to perform any job on a farm owned or operated by their parent or such person standing in the place of a parent.
Congress created the parental exemption in 1966 when it expanded protections for children employed in agriculture and prohibited their employment in jobs the Department of Labor declared particularly hazardous for children under the age of 16 to perform.
The department recognizes the unique attributes of farm families and rural communities. The re-proposal process will seek comments and inputs as to how the department can comply with statutory requirements to protect children, while respecting rural traditions. The re-proposed portion of the rule is expected to be published for public comment by early summer. The department will continue to review the comments received regarding the remaining portions of the proposed rule for inclusion in a final rule.
Sources: MFU, DOL