MILWAUKEE – County Supervisor Felesia A. Martin today urged Governor Tony Evers to veto legislation introduced by Wisconsin GOP State Senators that would allow 14 and 15-year-olds to work far outside the hours regulated under federal child labor laws.
“This is a rollback to a time without child labor laws,” said Supervisor Martin. “It is unconscionable that our state GOP could put forth such a bill. Wisconsinites should speak out about this egregious violation of child labor laws. Governor Evers must veto this bill if it appears on his desk.”
The legislation (Senate Bill 332) expands the allowable hours of work for children under the age of 16. On days before a school day, children could work from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. When school is not in session the next day, children could work from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Current federal child-labor laws dictate that children can only work between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. from June 1 to Labor Day, and between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for the remainder of the year.
The Wisconsin AFL-CIO opposes Senate Bill 332, noting that it conflicts with child labor protection laws and that supporters have yet to offer justification for the proposed change.
Republican authors of the bill have argued that it will help address the labor shortage in the state, despite the fact that the bill would not impact businesses covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Businesses covered under the FLSA include those with more than $500,000 in sales and whose employees engage in interstate commerce.
The bill passed the Wisconsin State Senate on Wednesday, October 20, and awaits action from the Wisconsin State Assembly.