Iowa is proposing new legislation allowing young children to work in heavy industries, which has raised concerns among many people. If the bill is passed, it will allow 14-year-olds to work in industrial laundries or meat freezers, 15-year-olds to work as lifeguards, and with a waiver from the labor commissioner, they would be able to work in light assembly and lift objects weighing up to 50 lbs. Eighth graders would also be able to work six hours after school.
Additionally, the bill would allow children to work in any business with “adequate supervision” if they are enrolled in a “work-based learning or a school or employer-administered, work-related program approved by the department of workforce development or the department of education.” The director of either department would have the power to waive all labor rules for these children.
The bill also shields businesses from civil liability for any harm that may befall the children while working, even if the business’s negligence causes the harm. This would exclude children from worker’s compensation and leave their families individually liable for on-the-job injuries.
Critics of the bill argue that this legislation is not in the children’s best interests and puts them at risk of exploitation and harm. They also point out that children should not be working in hazardous industries and must have a childhood free from labor.
In conclusion, the proposed legislation in Iowa is raising concerns among many people, who believe that children should not be working in hazardous industries and that their safety and well-being should be a top priority. The proposed bill would put children at risk of exploitation and harm, and lawmakers need to consider the long-term impact of such legislation before passing it.
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