Contact: Karen Hickey
On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations is preparing to discuss a bill that would weaken child labor law in Wisconsin. Senate Bill 11 and Assembly Bill 25, introduced by Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R- Clinton) and Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), will make it easier for businesses to use child labor without sign off by parents by completely eliminating the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) permit process currently required for children aged 16 and 17 entering the workforce.
“This bill seriously weakens Wisconsin’s strong child labor laws which are in place to protect the life, health, safety and welfare of children,” said Phil Neuenfeldt, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. “The current permit process helps ensure the health and safety of a child worker by requiring approval at two levels: by the parent or guardian who knows their child’s individual situation and ability to do the job, and by the DWD officer who verifies the job is safe and appropriate for children under Wisconsin child labor law. Eliminating the permit process would by-pass these important safeguards and create a direct pipeline between employers and our children.”
“This bill undermines parental rights by eliminating the requirement for moms and dads to approve their kid’s work schedule and other workplace conditions,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer. “Everyone who had a job during high school remembers how important a first job can be to teach young people responsibility and important life skills. The point is that parents should still have the right to sign off on their child’s work permit.”
If a child has no legal guardian available, a Department of Workforce Development officer can sign off on a work permit for the 16 or 17-year-old, which they do routinely on a regular basis.