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Proposed Wage and Hour Laws for Children Have CA Farmers Concerned

The proposed federal employment law changes for children working on farms have critics and supporters throughout California.

While the change is pending with the Department of Labor, California lawmakers are debating the merits of a bill that would prohibit children younger than 16 from working on tobacco farms. The bill would also ban texting while working farm equipment. There is also a provision that would prevent children from working with pesticides and other harmful chemicals at the farm.

The proposed changes don't affect only the employment of young children on farms. There are also several policies altered in the pending Department of Labor changes. Many lawmakers in California have sent letters in support of the changes. Critics of the new rules, however, have asked the Department of Labor to extend the comment period on the changes to allow all parties who have an interest in the change to speak out for or against the new rules.

According to California news station 89.3 KPCC, "the labor secretary received more than 18,000 letters, emails and phone calls on the proposed new rules before the comment period ended on Thursday." The Department of Labor has not release information about how long it will take to decide whether to move forward with the new employment laws for children on farms.

Source: 89.3 KPCC "Calif. Lawmakers split on new rules preventing kids from farming tobacco," Kitty Felde, 12/5/2011

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