Re. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) on Thursday described new child labor regulation proposed by the Department of Labor as “a very dumb and dangerous idea.”
“We are still pushing on the Department of Labor to back off on what is a silly and I think dangerous regulation,” he said during a tele-conference with his constituents.
The DOL is considering updating the Fair Labor Standards Act by strengthening current child labor regulations related to work with animals, pesticides, timber operations, manure pits and storage bins. The new regulations would also prohibit farmworkers under 16 from operating almost all power-driven equipment and from participating in the cultivation, harvesting and curing of tobacco.
The proposed regulations would not apply to children working on farms whose parents are part owners or operators.
“The Department of Labor has proposed some regulations that would make it nearly impossible for any kid to work on a farm, even with mom and dad,” Huelskamp claimed. “There is certain age requirements, you have to be 18 to work cattle. I would have loved to be able to tell my dad that when I was a kid, that I’m too young to work.
“My fear is that as a farmer myself, we start kids working on farm at a young age. It’s a way of life and people in Washington just don’t get it. There are some regulators over at the Department of Labor that have determined they know best about who should work on a farm.”
The DOL said it proposed the new regulations because of studies showing that children are significantly more likely to be killed while performing agricultural work than while working in all other industries combined. The agency plans to propose modified regulations this summer after it considers feedback from the public and Congress.
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