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Bill To Make Major Child Labor Law Changes Advances

Brandon Smith/IPB News

A bill that would significantly reduce restrictions on teenage workers got one step closer to becoming law in the Indiana House on Monday. Among other things, it aims to remove student work permits by the summer of 2021. 

The bill would increase the amount of hours 16- to 18-year-olds can work to 40 hours a week during the school year and 48 hours during holidays. Instead of applying for school-issued work permits, businesses that employ minors would simply register in a U.S. Department of Labor database.

Rep. Randy Lyness (R-West Harrison) spoke in support of the bill. He says it will make it more attractive for employers to hire minors, even down to renaming the Bureau of Child Labor the Bureau of Youth Employment.

“Its term now, child labor, gives it a bad connotation to start with,” he says. “We want to change it to employment of minors. Sounds a little better.”

Critics of the bill say it strips power from schools to act if work gets in the way of education. They also worry that it removes currently mandated rest breaks from the legal code.

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