Kickapoo High Quarterly

KHQ TODAY

Kickapoo High Quarterly

KHQ TODAY

Kickapoo High Quarterly

KHQ TODAY

Working Younger and Younger

Missouri lawmakers have decided to push the limits of child labor laws, rearranging the application process for younger teenagers.
Teenagers+can+easily+sit+down+and+fill+out+an+application+with+their+parents+now%2C+cutting+out+most+of+the+schools+supervision+when+it+comes+to+working+young.
Photo by Aaron Hardy
Teenagers can easily sit down and fill out an application with their parents now, cutting out most of the school’s supervision when it comes to working young.

   Republican state representative, Dave Hinman, has recently sponsored a bill that would remove most of the restrictions on child labor. This allows teenagers under the age of 16 to work with just a simple permission slip. 

   This might not sound that weird, but it would cut an otherwise lengthy process down by many steps. According to the official Missouri Labor website, the current process includes getting a statement of intention that must be signed by the employer, as well as a permission slip from the child’s parents, principal, and physician. Only then may the teenager finally be allowed to obtain a work permit.

   If this new bill is accepted, most of this process would be reworked and younger teenagers looking for hire would be treated essentially the same as 16 and 17 year olds. This bill has multiple pros and cons if it gets rediscussed. 

   “I was asked by a local business to help out. He hires a lot of 14 to 15 year old youths to help out in his restaurant and they have to leave at 7 p.m. I was tasked to look at changing the time for them to work later. I did find out that it was not possible as the federal government regulates that part of labor law. While I was looking at the bill, I noticed that the school district decides whether or not my child gets a job and I thought that the ultimate decision like that should made by the parent of the child,” Hinman said.

   This bill does offer 14 and 15 year olds more opportunity to get a job easily, which gives them life experience for the future. It allows for a sense of freedom and independence. This bill also fills the workforce with more people, which many businesses are often struggling with.

   However, this bill isn’t all perfect. Representative Hinman says that the bill has been met with some pushback.

   “I have met with our previous superintendent and he stated it was not a big deal for them but did not have a problem with the change. I have talked with several groups and many have expressed concerns why the school has such a big role in this. They believe that the school need to be involved in making decisions for the family,” Hinman said.

   Some people and groups are concerned when they think about teenagers so young working with much more ease. Child labor laws are in place to protect children, and some concerns have been raised with the fact that this bill might interfere with the safety of children in the workplace.

   The bill has not been up for discussion on the Senate floor for the past two weeks, so its future is yet to be determined.

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About the Contributor
Aaron Hardy, Reporter