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Hochul announces progress in state crackdown on child labor violations


Fri, Jun 16th 2023 12:45 pm

New York State Department of Labor conducts 145 business inspections, completes investigation into child labor violations resulting in $105,000 in penalties

√ Also launches online child labor hub, public service announcements to educate workers & employers on child labor laws

√ Releases enhanced complaint form to make it easier to report violations

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced progress in New York state's multipronged effort to protect children in the workforce. She announced that, as part of its ongoing work with the child labor task force announced earlier this year, the New York State Department of Labor recently conducted inspections into child labor practices at 145 New York businesses.

A press release stated, “The governor also unveiled the NYSDOL's new online child labor complaint form, which provides minors, their parents and caregivers, and community stakeholders with an easy method to report violations, and launched NYSDOL's new online child labor hub, a digital resource with important information to help employers comply with federal and state child labor laws. Together, these announcements build on the governor's commitment to combatting abusive child labor practices and creating safe workplaces all New Yorkers, especially minors.”

Hochul said, "New York state continues to build on our efforts to make our state the safest in the nation for all workers – particularly child workers. With these new initiatives, we are reaffirming our commitment to ending abusive child labor practices and creating a safer work environment for all."

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "Our children are the future of New York state and must be protected as they begin their journey into the world of work. New York state has some of the strongest protections for minors in the workplace. Any business skirting the law will be found and swiftly brought to justice. I encourage young members of our workforce and their parents to understand their rights and to file complaints if they suspect they are a victim."

In addition to NYSDOL's business inspections, NYSDOL continues to investigate child labor violations through its Division of Labor Standards.

The new child labor hub features several assets to help employers, parents, minors and the public navigate child labor laws. Resources include the new online child labor complaint form, which begins a Division of Labor Standards investigation into the reported business, once a complaint is filed. The hub also boasts additional tools for employers, including an interactive scheduling template, a sample work schedule, a color-coding scheduling guide, and online training videos to assist employers in adhering to child labor laws.

The press release stated, “NYSDOL ramped up its educational outreach by distributing print materials and digital resources – including palm cards and online trainings – to young New Yorkers, their parents, businesses, and community stakeholders across New York state. As part of its continued public service campaign on child labor, NYSDOL recently created videos in English and Spanish as part of its ongoing effort to educate the public about the protections in place for minors in the workplace. The video will be distributed to school districts statewide to educate minors who are seeking working papers. The child labor hub will also soon include an employer pledge for those employers who take steps to educate themselves on child labor laws and commit to keeping minors safe in their workplaces.

“Hochul announced the new child labor task force in March in response to a troubling spike in child labor violations. Members of this interagency collaboration meet regularly to examine trends to guide solutions to strengthen protections of the young workforce. The task force also works proactively to ensure children, parents, and employers are educated on the rights of young New Yorkers in the workplace.

“As part of that announcement, the governor also unveiled an extensive public education campaign and the creation of a new labor trafficking response unit within NYSDOL.

“NYSDOL has online guidance, broken down by ages14-17 and 18-24 to help employers, parents and minors better understand the laws and protections. There is also additional information young workers need to know before starting their job search, including topics such as working papers, proper identification and resume preparation.”

It said some important tips to remember for young workers and hiring businesses are:

√ Workers ages 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.

For more information on child labor laws, visit the NYSDOL “Know Your Rights” webpage. For more information on human and labor trafficking, visit the human trafficking webpage.

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