U.S. Department of Labor Extends Comment Period on Proposed Rule to Update Child Labor Regulations
Deadline for Comments is December 1, 2011
The ABF Legislative Committee wanted to make the ABF membership award of a proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Labor to update child labor requirements. This proposed change will be applied to beekeeping operations and would require some changes in common practices concerning extended family members and incorporated family farms.
Below is the official press release from the Department of Labor. In addition, a sample comment letter is provided below, which was developed by the Washington Farm Bureau. You are encouraged to use this letter as a guide, but personalize it to fit your particular beekeeping operation.
WHD News Release: [10/31/2011]
The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division has announced a 30-day extension of the comment period for its proposed rule to revise regulations addressing child labor in agricultural and nonagricultural employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The rule proposed by the Wage and Hour Division would amend existing FLSA child labor regulations and incorporate into the regulations the enforcement policies the division follows when determining whether to assess a civil money penalty for child labor violations.
On September 2, 2011, the department published a notice of proposed rulemaking in 76 Federal Register 54836 with a comment period scheduled to end on Nov. 1. Although many comments have been submitted on the proposal, the department also has received requests to extend the period for filing public comments from members of Congress and various agricultural business organizations.
Because of the interest that has been expressed and the department's desire to obtain as much information about its proposals as possible, the period for submitting public comment on the notice of proposed rulemaking has been extended through December 1, 2011. To view the proposed rule and submit comments, visit the federal e-rulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov and search by regulation identification number 1235-AA06.
Wage and Hour Division
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20510
To Whom It May Concern:
I am concerned about the Department of Labor child labor rule, "Child Labor Regulations, Orders and Statements of Interpretation" (RIN 1235-AA06). This rule will have a dramatic change on current agricultural practices by limiting young family workers from learning how to manage a farm. The activities on a modern farm range from planting, harvesting, collecting fruits and vegetables, caring for animals, and operating tractors and other equipment, among other actions.
Also, ownership of the family farm partnership is unique. In many instances ownership of the family farm has changed as land has passed from one generation to another with multiple family members owning, operating and being employed by the farm. The rule would undermine the traditional extended family farm by limiting the ability of grandchildren, nieces and nephews to learn the family business.
Agriculture operations offer a safe work environment for all workers, especially youth. Farms offer a unique opportunity to train, education and provide resources for young workers and their families in rural communities. Currently, there are protections for workers on farms and this rule is confusing, duplicative and unnecessary.
posted November 2011