The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has announced a 30-day extension of the comment period for its proposed rule to revise regulations addressing child labor in agricultural and nonagricultural employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Although many comments have been submitted on the proposal, the department also has received requests to extend the period for filing public comments from members of Congress and various agricultural business organizations. The comment period now ends December 1.
The proposed rules would prohibit farm workers under the age of 16 from working in cultivation and harvesting certain crops. The rules also would prohibit youth, both ag and no ag, from using electronic, including communications, equipment while operating powered equipment, and the rule also prohibits young workers from operating almost all power equipment.
Also, minors under the age of 18 would be barred from working in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials, with specific prohibitions on country elevators, grain bins, feedlots, stockyards and livestock auctions. The rules would also prohibit or limit youth from engaging, or assisting, in animal husbandry practices. There are exceptions for youth working on their parents’ farm.