Biden Administration Addresses Surge in Child Labour Violations

The White House has announced a new plan to address child labor, following an increase in violations and reports of illegal employment of minors in dangerous industries across the US.

The US Labor Department has noted a 70% rise in child labor violations over the past four years, with 835 companies found to have breached US child labor laws in the last fiscal year alone. The Biden administration has created an interagency task force that will open probes into industries where child labour law violations could potentially occur. Government officials also want more stringent penalties for businesses found in violation of those laws, as well as additional funding for both enforcement and oversight.

Current US labour laws don’t allow anyone under the age of 16 to be employed in factories, and anyone under 18 isn’t allowed to work jobs in industrial plants considered dangerous. The White House wants to boost the maximum fine for violations— currently sitting at $15,138 per child, because the penalty is “not high enough to be a deterrent.”

So far, the Labor Department has opened an investigation into food contractor Hearthside Food Solutions after a New York Times report alleged the company employed minors to make Chewy granola bars, Lucky Charms cereals, and Cheetos. Similarly, a Reuters investigation found that child labour laws violations were also prominent across chicken processing plants in Alabama, with majority of the minors originating from South America.

As such, the US government is looking to speed up the deportation relief process for immigrants in the US illegally who witness or experience labor abuses. “We also absolutely need to protect workers who do come forward and participate in wage and hour and other worker protection investigations and activities,” said a Biden administration official in a telephone interview with Reuters earlier this week.

Information for this story was found via Reuters and the NYT. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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