USDOL reports seeing increases in child labor violations & young worker injuries across country
Submitted by the New York State Department of Labor
The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) announced the kickoff of a new public service campaign to inform young New Yorkers of their rights in the workplace after recent increases in child labor violations. This comes in response to a significant increase in child labor violations throughout the United States, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL). New York state is no exception, with NYSDOL seeing a 68% increase in violations in 2022 compared to the previous year.
NYSDOL’s public service campaign aims to educate young workers about their rights and protections, while reminding employers about their responsibilities in hiring youth workers under state and federal labor law. This initiative will feature a multiplatform digital and social campaign.
“As we see a rise in child labor violations, we are acting quickly to ensure young people know their rights and are protected in the workplace,” said New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “Violating labor laws is unacceptable, and it’s particularly egregious when it involves vulnerable workers who are just entering the world of work. This campaign will be essential to empowering and protecting New York’s workforce, and we are proud to lead the way.”
In July 2022, the USDOL reported increases in child labor violations and young worker injuries across the country, with over 2,800 minors found employed in violation of the law in 2021. New York state saw 464 child labor cases in 2022 and has collected over $270,000 in civil penalties from employers breaking child labor laws. Violations in the United State have been on the rise in recent years, with a sharp increase since the pandemic. In New York state, the majority of violations are related to wage underpayments, hours of work, and prohibited employment.
NYSDOL’s new public service campaign, which kicked off in January and will continue throughout the year, will assist in educating young people on their rights in the workplace and how they can report violations to NYSDOL’s Division of Labor Standards. Videos on topics like safe working conditions, minimum wage, and working on school nights will be promoted and posted to all NYSDOL social media accounts and other digital platforms. The campaign will also include marketing materials that will be distributed to schools and employers.
In order to prevent businesses from exceeding hour limitations for young workers, NYSDOL will also continue promoting resources available to help them recruit employees to ensure they have an adequate workforce. Through NYSDOL’s business services webpage, businesses can post job openings, learn about hiring incentives, and access free consultation services.
NYSDOL’s Division of Employment and Workforce Solutions includes a youth team to help young people entering the workforce. Guides for young New Yorkers are available online to educate them on what they need before filling out applications. The guides are broken down by ages 14-17 and 18-24, and cover important topics like getting working papers, proper identification, resume preparation, and more. Some important tips to remember for young workers and hiring businesses are:
√ Workers aged 14 to 17 need an employment certificate, also called working papers, in order to hold a job in New York state.
√ There are limits to the length of shifts, time of day and the number of hours minors can work depending on their age, and if school is in session.
√ Minors are prohibited from night work and have different restrictions than adults.
√ Minimum wage laws apply to all workers (unless otherwise noted), including minors.
√ Minors may not perform certain tasks or occupations deemed dangerous. These tasks and occupations are prohibited at the state and/or the federal level.
Visit NYSDOL’s social media channels to see the new campaign, and check out NYSDOL’s employment of minors webpage for more information on child labor laws.