States want children to fill labor shortages, even in bars and on school nights

Legislators in multiple states are embracing proposed laws that would permit children to work in occupations that involve greater hazards, allow them to work longer hours on school nights, and expand their roles, including serving alcohol in bars and restaurants from the age of 14.

These efforts to significantly relax labor regulations are primarily driven by Republican lawmakers who aim to address workforce shortages and, in certain cases, challenge federal regulations, the Associated Press reported.

Child welfare advocates express concern that these measures signify a coordinated effort to undermine the protections that have been established for minors through hard-fought battles.

Over the past two years, lawmakers have introduced bills in at least 10 states to loosen child labor laws, as detailed in a report published by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute last month.

Some of these bills have been enacted into law, while others have been withdrawn or vetoed.

Written by staff