The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has recently announced new measures to strengthen the enforcement of child labor laws due to a rise in recent violations.
Data from the DOL recently unveiled that there has been a 69% increase in child labor law violations since 2018. More than 835 companies broke these laws, and almost 4,000 children were affected.
The announcement of this initiative comes after a federal government inquiry against food safety sanitation company, Packers Sanitation Services. The company was directed to pay $1.5 million in fines for employing 102 children in meatpacking facilities across eight states. Hyundai is also under investigation for employing children as young as 12 years old.
The measures, including a joint task force between the DOL and the Department of Health and Human Services, aim to protect the rights of minors and prevent the exploitation of child labor in the workplace. Targeted outreach and education campaigns will be used to inform employers and workers about their rights and responsibilities under child labor laws. This will help to raise awareness of the issue and prevent violations from occurring in the first place.
Moreover, the DOL has also announced plans to heighten the penalties for child labor law violations to deter employers. Another important measure is the increased use of data analytics and technology to identify and track potential violations of child labor laws. This will allow the DOL to tackle the 600 active investigations more efficiently.
The measures announced by the DOL are a vital step towards protecting the rights of minors and preventing the exploitation of child labor, according to New York Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon.
“Violating labor laws is unacceptable, and it’s particularly egregious when it involves vulnerable workers who are just entering the world of work,” Reardon told Spectrum News 1.