Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Significant changes proposed to Child Labor Law (LD 516)

This is one for parents and educators to chime in on!

Sun-Journal Overview
Text of amended bill
An "Action" sponsored by the Maine Women's Lobby to ask Legislators NOT to change Maine's Child Labor Law

(Summary provided by legislative office): This bill amends the laws governing employment practices in the following ways:
1. It establishes a training wage for trainees or secondary students under 20
years of age at $5.25 per hour for their first 180 days of employment;

2. It eliminates the maximum number of hours a minor 16 years of age or older
can work during school days;

3. It allows a minor under 16 years of age to work up to 4 hours on a school day
during hours when school is not in session;

4. It allows a home-schooled student to work during regular public school hours,
but not during regularly scheduled home school hours;

5. It exempts a minor under 16 years of age who is enrolled in school from the
maximum hour requirements to work in an agricultural setting as long as the
minor has written permission from the minor's parent or guardian; and

6. It allows a parent or guardian of a minor who is home schooled to sign a work
permit instead of the superintendent of the school administrative unit where the
homeschooled minor lives.

Also, some great resources for talking with kids about child labor:

Rethinking Schools article

Giving Voice to Child Laborers Through Monologues - a 6-8 lesson plan from ReadWriteThink

Child Labor in US history - from Library of Congress

Who makes the things you buy? and more...  From Global Classrooms Now

Between the By-Road and the Main Road: Books To Teach Children About Labor History: (from MaryAnn Reilly's blog)

1 comment:

Kimberly Simmons said...

My LTE, in case it never sees light of day :)

Economists have long documented the importance of third streams of revenue for working class families to fall back on: snowplowing, babysitting, and house cleaning are examples of work that can be done on top of other jobs to generate or replace income when living wage jobs are scarce. LD 561 would add another way for families to get by – bring back child labor. Provisions in the bill allow the “homeschooling” of teens who can then work for wages during regular school hours, with few restrictions, but lower than minimum wage pay. Since Maine has a surplus labor pool right now, particularly among those without a college degree, adding teens to the labor force will drive down costs for businesses and wages for families. As adults lose access to income, young people will be further expected to earn money to support their families, creating a terrible cycle for our communities. Shifting adult work to children is immoral, unsafe and also impractical for the long-term. Please encourage legislators to protect Maine children’s right to an education and a childhood and maintain current restrictions on child labor.