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Passage of CARE Would Set New Rules For Young Farm Workers

Under the current U.S. law, children ages 12-17 are exempt from the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) if they are working on a farm. This is to allow opportunities for teenagers to earn money and valuable experience while learning about the agricultural workforce. However that may change soon for young farm workers. 

Yet the Johnson City Record Courier reports that a bill in congress is seeking to eliminate the FLSA exemption, where supporters are arguing that the current law encourages migrant farm workers to put their kids in the fields to make more money for the family, which can be threatening to a child's health and education. The bill called The Children's Act for Responsible Employment, otherwise known as CARE or H.R 3564, would set a maximum hour standard for children working for hire in agriculture that already apply to every other industry. The passage of CARE would also set a minimum age requirement for working in agriculture, which also applies to all other industries.

Under FLSA, children doing non-agricultural work must be at least 14 years of age and are limited to 3 hours of work a day outside of school hours while school is in session. Lawmakers pushing for the passage of CARE would like to see the agricultural industry adopt these standards as well.

Children who are forced to work full 8-hour days out of fear of losing their job should contact a Houston employment lawyer to learn more about their rights in the workplace. More information on child labor laws and the standards of FLSA can be found through our Related Resources pages.

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