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As I See It

Relax rules for young teen employees

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There are many laws regulating the employment of children. Maybe too many. Both federal and state governments have laws regulating how many hours, and how late, young teens can work. In Wisconsin, those hours could be changing. Under current law, 14 and 15 year-olds can only work until 7pm, and 9pm during the summer months. Wisconsin lawmakers are voting to extend that to 11pm if the teens don’t have school the next day. If they do, they could only work until 9:30pm. Some argue that would chip away at child labor laws, but this is hardly forced labor. These would be kids working low-level jobs at places like restaurants, golf courses, movie theatres and arcades looking for a little spending money. There are certainly worse ways young teens could be spending their time. By working, they are being supervised, learning about hard work, and making some money. The tourism industry is in favor because so many businesses are facing labor shortages and letting young people work more could help that at least a bit. Kids this age may already be up late participating or going to sporting events or working on school projects. Our government shouldn’t keep these kids from staying up later to do some work and get paid for it.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jane

    January 21, 2022 at 9:53 am

    Kids that age will need transportation many can’t get, covid has effected learning and schools need kids focused and in class, later nite jobs mean less staff and help closing those hrs. are often safety concerns. Many only have that time in their lives to join sports or clubs which are also components they learn from.

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