Press Releases

Dear Colleague: Dispelling Falsehoods about the CARE Act

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Washington, July 23, 2010 | Helen Machado (202 225-1766) | comments

Dear Colleague:

I am writing to ask for your support in ending a dangerous double standard that persists in America’s child labor laws.  Currently, children working in agriculture are permitted to work at younger ages and for longer hours than those working in all other industries.  While 12 year old children are allowed to work on farms, children under 14 are prohibited from working in every other industry.  Children who work on farms deserve the same rights and protections as all other children and that is why I introduced H.R. 3564, the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment of 2009 (CARE Act).

It has been brought to my attention that several myths about the CARE Act have been circulating in the media and gaining currency among our constituents and in the halls of Congress.  I hope the following facts will help to dispel this misinformation and encourage you to cosponsor this important legislation.

MYTH: Children under 18 would be prohibited from working on farms.
FACT: The CARE Act would not prohibit children from working in agriculture.  Children could be hired to work on farms beginning at age 14, subject to the same age and hour restrictions that apply to young workers in all other industries. 

MYTH: The CARE Act would eliminate educational programs like 4-H and Future Farmers of America.
FACT: Career exploration programs, including 4-H and Future Farmers of America, are allowed under existing labor regulations (29 CFR 570.35a) and are not affected by the provisions of the CARE Act.

MYTH: Children would be prohibited from working on their families’ farms.
FACT: The CARE Act does not impact the existing exemption that allows children to work without restriction on family farms.

While retaining current exemptions for family farms, the CARE Act would:

• Bring age and work hour standards for children in agriculture up to the standards for children working in all other industries;
• Establish a minimum penalty for child labor violations;
• Increase the maximum civil monetary penalties and maximum criminal penalties for child labor violations;
• Provide children with greater protections against pesticide exposure in agriculture by raising the labor protections to EPA standards.

For more information or to co-sponsor the CARE Act of 2009, contact Natalie Price in my office.
Thank you.

Lucille Roybal-Allard
Member of Congress

(As of July 23, 2010 102 cosponsors including: Reps. Abercrombie, Becerra, Berman, Blumenauer, Brown, Capuano, Cardoza, Carson, Chu, Clarke, Clay, Cleaver, Cohen, Connolly, Conyers, Costa, Cuellar, Cummings, Davis (IL), Davis (CA), Delahunt, DeLauro, Ellison, Engel, Eshoo, Farr, Fattah, Filner, Frank, Garamendi, Gonzalez, Grayson, Green (TX), Green (TX), Grijalva, Gutierrez, Hare, Harman, Hastings, Hinchey, Hinojosa, Hirono, Honda, Jackson, Jackson-Lee, Johnson (TX),  Johnson (GA), Kaptur, Kennedy, Kilpatrick,  Kucinich, Lee (CA), Levin, Lewis (GA),  Lofgren, Lynch, Maloney, Markey, Matsui, McCollum, McDermott, McGovern,  McNerney, Michaud, Moore (WI),  Moran, Napolitano, Norton, Olver, Ortiz, Pallone, Pastor, Payne, Pierluisi, Rangel, Reyes, Richardson, Rodriguez, Rush, Sablan, Salazar, Sanchez (CA), Sanchez (CA), Schakowsky, Schiff, Scott (VA), Serrano, Sherman, Sires, Speier, Stark, Thompson, Tierney, Titus, Velazquez, Waters, Watson, Waxman, Weiner, Woolsey)

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