Monday, June 6, 2011

Are U.S. Child-Labor Laws Under Threat? - TIME

Are U.S. Child-Labor Laws Under Threat? - TIME

The government has not had a lot of ideas for what to do about the nation's anemic job market, but there are troubling signs that one old idea is starting to re-emerge: child labor. In the first part of the 20th century, there was a concerted effort to end the scourge of children working in factories and textile mills. But now there is a small but noticeable drive to weaken these protections.

Maine grabbed headlines in late May when it enacted a law rolling back restrictions on the employment of minors. Children under the age of 18 can now work 24 hours a week — up from 20 — and as late as 10:15 on school nights, up from 10 p.m. (the bill's backers wanted to raise the cutoff to 11 p.m.). The law diluted protections that had been put in place in 1991, when teachers were complaining about working students falling asleep in class

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