To the United States Congress
- Amend the Fair Labor Standards
Act (FLSA) to:
- apply the same age and hour requirements to children working for
hire in agriculture as already apply to all other working children: prohibit
the employment of children age 13 and younger; limit the number of hours that
children ages 14 and 15 can legally work to 3 hours a day on a school day and 18
hours a week during a school week; 8 hours a day on a nonschool day and 40
hours a week when school is not in session; and prohibit before-school work by children
age 15 and younger;
- raise the minimum age for particularly hazardous work in
agriculture to 18, in line with existing standards in all other industries;
- increase civil money and criminal penalties to improve compliance
with the child labor provisions;
- incorporate the Environmental Protection Agency’s Worker
Protection Standard, 40 C.F.R. Part 170, into the child labor regulations,
thereby protecting children working in agriculture not only from pesticides
with acute effects (such as nausea, skin rashes, and dizziness), but also from
those with chronic or long-term effects (such as cancer and interference with
- require agricultural employers to report work-related deaths,
serious injuries, and serious illnesses to the US Department of Labor in order
to collect and publish better statistics than are currently available about
such incidents; and
- require the US
Department of Labor to submit to Congress an annual report on work-related
deaths, injuries, and illnesses of children working in agriculture, including
an evaluation of the data that highlights, among other things, safety and
health hazards and the extent and nature of child labor violations.
- Halt the yearly approval of a special
provision in the Department of Labor appropriations act that exempts almost
all farms with 10 or fewer employees from the jurisdiction of the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
- Provide sufficient support to
programs, such as those administered by the Department of
Education’s Office of Migrant Education, to remove barriers to the
school enrollment, attendance, and achievement of child farmworkers and
ensure that child farmworkers have access to and benefit from the same
appropriate public education, including public preschool education,
provided to other children.
- Require the Department of
Education’s Office of Migrant Education to collect and analyze state
data on school completion rates for all child farmworkers and to report
national and state results annually.
- Repeal programs that require local police to enforce
immigration laws so that undocumented children are able to report abuse
without fear of deportation for themselves or their family members.
To the United States
Department of Labor
- Dramatically increase, through
the Wage and Hour Division, the number of child labor and minimum wage
investigations in agriculture, the most dangerous industry in which
children are allowed to work.
- Improve compliance with existing
labor law by seeking higher civil money and criminal penalties in
accordance with the law. In particular, amend the civil penalty
regulations to reflect amendments made by a rider to the Genetic
Information Non-discrimination Act (“GINA”) in 2008 that raise
the $11,000 maximum penalty to $50,000 where the violation of a child
labor provision results in death or serious injury, and where the higher
penalty is doubled to $100,000 in the case of a repeat or willful
violation. Make the department’s civil money penalty regulations (29
C.F.R. Part 579) more precise in order to assure that it imposes higher
penalties, and that these higher penalties are upheld in litigation.
use the Fair Labor Standards Act's “hot goods” provision,
which prohibits the interstate movement of goods produced in violation of
child labor or minimum wage laws, where the traditional course of
citations and relatively insignificant civil money penalties would have
little deterrent effect.
- Propose and press for
much-needed amendments to the list of jobs in agriculture that
deemed to be “particularly hazardous” for children, as
recommended by the Centers for Disease Control’s National Institute
for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in 2002.
- Vigorously enforce OSHA Field
Sanitation Standard, which require employers to provide workers with
drinking water, toilets, and handwashing facilities
- Request the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) to
expand its surveys to collect information about child workers under, as
well as over, age 14. Explore methods of counting working children that do
not rely on reports from growers and adult farmworkers who may underreport
the numbers of working children.
To Occupational Safety
and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Conduct targeted
investigations in agriculture rather than responding only to written
- Continue and accelerate monitoring of “state
plans” and require that all states enforcing OSHA-approved plans do
so effectively, including frequent unannounced inspections.
To the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA)
- Amend the Worker Protection
Standard to impose a minimum age of 18 for all pesticide handlers.
- Revise the restricted-entry
intervals (REIs), which prohibit entry into an area treated by pesticides
for a specified period of time following the application of the
chemicals. Distinguish between adults and children, and impose more stringent
REIs for children. Incorporate an additional safety margin on top of
what is determined necessary to ensure short and long-term safety, and
take into account the combined effect of both occupational and
- Closely monitor states'
enforcement of the Worker Protection Standard and related pesticide
regulations to ensure that such enforcement is vigorous and meaningful.
- Further expand the program to
educate workers regarding the Worker Protection Standard, and ensure that
materials used are culturally, age, and language appropriate.
- Ensure that state agencies responsible for enforcement of
EPA regulations are staffed by a sufficient number of trained, bilingual
(Spanish and English) compliance officers.
To the United States
Department of Education
- Conduct a study, with leadership from the Office on
Migrant Education, to establish accurate data on school drop-out rates for
all child farmworkers.
To All States
- Ensure that state child labor
laws are at least as protective as federal standards.
- Set or raise the minimum age
for agricultural work to at least 14, with the
exception of children working on farms owned and operated by their
- Amend workers’ compensation
laws to ensure coverage for farmworkers equal to that of other workers.
- Provide training and a strong mandate to law enforcement
to better respond to cases of sexual violence against farmworker girls and