Senate Democrats Fight to Strengthen Outdated Child Labor Laws

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

Illinois’ existing child labor laws have not been substantially updated since the industrial era – nor have they been brought into alignment with the prevailing service economy of the 21st century. To better safeguard the rights and well-being of the state’s youngest residents, State Senator Robert Peters is leading a measure to protect youth from exploitation – which he outlined at a press conference last Friday. Senate Bill 3646 would provide more protection for children in the workforce by addressing various aspects of child labor, including working conditions, age requirements and sectors prone to exploitation. With support from the labor sector, the proposal would extend protections to minors who are not enrolled in traditional public or private schools with standard school hours to define when a student is permitted to work. It would also add new positions to the list of prohibited jobs for minors and jobs requiring adult supervision and impose increased penalties for violations. Acknowledging that not all students have permanent addresses or access to their birth certificate, the measure would further update the school-issued work certification procedure to allow minors without birth certificates or home addresses to receive work permits from their respective school officer. Senate Bill 3646 awaits consideration before the full Senate.

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