Posted BY: | NwoReport

A bill seeking to change child labor laws in Arkansas has reached Republican Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who will now decide on whether to remove the need for a work permit as a condition of employment for children under the age of 16. She has previously indicated that she would sign the legislation.

The proposed change to the existing child labor laws—House Bill (HB) 1410, also known as the Youth Hiring Act—would allow children as young as nine years old to be hired to work without a currently required employment certificate “accessible to the Division of Labor and the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, or local school officials.” The certificate contains proof of the child’s age, a description of the work and work schedule, and the written consent of the parent or guardian.

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Over the last year, there has been a fierce debate between both major parties over the weakening of child labor regulations. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 2,819 minors were found “employed in violation of the law and assessed employers with nearly $3.4 million in civil money penalties” in 2021. Three young workers died in the same year, in addition to a 16-year-old boy who fell to his death in May 2022 while doing roof construction work atop a hotel work site in Tennessee.

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