Republican legislators and governors lead the formulation of laws that encourage child labor in different federal entities of the United States (USA).
The new legal forms could violate the physical integrity of minors, by exposing them to more dangerous occupations that in some cases are prohibited by federal law.
For example, in Wisconsin, lawmakers are backing a proposal to allow 14-year-olds to serve alcohol in bars and restaurants. If approved, this state would have the lowest age limit of its kind in the entire country, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. AP agency.
Ohio is slated to pass a bill that would allow 14 and 15-year-old students to work until 9:00 p.m. during the school year with parental permission, when federal labor standards say that at that age only work until 7:00 pm.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Republican governor of Arkansas, signed legislation in March that removes permits that required employers to verify a child's age and parental consent.
American social organizations against child exploitation warn that other measures have already been approved to relax the laws on the topic in New Jersey, New Hampshire and Iowa.
In this regard, Reid Maki, director of the Child Labor Coalition, alarms about "potentially disastrous consequences" of following this pattern in other states.
“You cannot balance a perceived labor shortage on the backs of teenage workers,” Maki told US media.
For organizations against child labor exploitation North American states seek to solve the shortage of workers, and minors are the first option because they are less likely to unionize and demand labor improvements.
“There are employers who benefit from having docile teenage workers,” Maki added.
Child labor on the rise in the US
Earlier this month, Karen Garnett-Civils, director of the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division, said 688 minors were illegally employed in hazardous occupations in fiscal year 2022, the highest rate since fiscal year 2011.
Among them was a 15-year-old boy who was injured while operating a deep fryer at a McDonald's in Morristown, Tennessee.
For the US official "one child injured at work is too many", and recalled that "child labor laws exist to ensure that when young people work, the work does not endanger their health, well-being or education."