Reps. Roybal-Allard & DeLauro Call for Enforcement of Child Labor Laws
Today, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) sent a letter to Department of Labor (DOL) Acting Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division Bryan Jarrett calling for a comprehensive DOL strategy to enforce child labor laws. Their letter follows a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) study – commissioned at their request – which found that child labor accounts for a devastatingly high amount of work-related fatalities in the United States, especially in the agricultural sector.
“More than 75 years after the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which strengthened protections for America’s most vulnerable children, serious violations persist for child laborers working on farms in the United States,” wrote the Members. “Despite employing a small percentage of working children, the data concludes that the agriculture sector is responsible for over half of the 452 work-related fatalities among children during the duration of the study. Moreover, the study conducted by GAO revealed that although the agricultural sector surpasses all industries for most work-related fatalities, it ranks just fifth for most Wage and Hour violations.
“We are therefore concerned that your agency lacks strategic enforcement to ensure there is proper accountability for violations, as logic dictates that the sector responsible for the most deaths by far would also commit the most violations,” continued the Members. “Oversight provided by the Department of Labor is necessary to protect the welfare of children in the workforce, especially in the agriculture sector where a disproportionate number of children are being killed. We request a comprehensive strategy to address this gap in enforcement no later than April 2019.”
Rep. Roybal-Allard serves as a member of the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, which is responsible for funding the DOL, and Rep. DeLauro serves as the subcommittee’s lead Democrat.
A copy of the signed letter can be found here.