Youth employment bill approved

Press Staff Writer

State senators who represent area counties were split in their votes on two measures that address the employment of minors.
Senators Bill Reineke and Theresa Gavarone voted in favor of Senate Bill 30 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 2 while Sen. Paula Hicks-Hudson voted against both pieces of legislation.
Both passed the Senate by votes of 25-7.
Resolution 2 would urge the U.S. Congress to change the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow someone under 16 years old to be employed between 7 and 9 p.m. during the school year with the approval of a parent or guardian.
SB 30 would allow people under 16 to be employed those hours during the school year with the approval of a parent or guardian.
Hicks-Hudson said the measures would do a disservice to youths.
“Children need time to pursue their education, extra-curricular activities, and personal growth,” she said. “Proponents of the bill have framed it as a remedy to the workforce shortage, but this problem will not be solved on the backs of our children. We must prioritize their well-being and development over short-term economic gain, and ensure that they have the opportunity to thrive in all aspects of their lives.”
In his sponsor testimony before the Workforce and Higher Education Committee, Sen. Tim Schaffer said that expanding the hours that 14- and 15-year-olds can work would help employers with staffing problems and encourage youths to develop good working skills.
Currently, federal and state law prohibit 14- and 15- year- olds to be employed past 9 p.m. during the summer, and past 7 p.m. during the school year.
“Let’s be clear, this resolution and Senate Bill 30 reinforce the guardrails protecting 14- and 15 year-olds that are already in code. Ohio law says 14- and 15-year-olds may not work between 9 p.m. and 7 am, and no more than three hours a day during school session,” he said. “Additionally, 14- and 15- year-olds cannot work more than 18 hours per week while school is in session. These guardrails do not change under Senate Concurrent Resolution 2 or Senate Bill 30. According to the United States Department of Labor, 13 states currently allow youths under the age of 16 to work until at least 9 p.m. year round for most non-farm employment opportunities.”


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