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US Does Not Experience in Child Labor
Child labor is usually described as the employment of children before their coming f age. The US has seen numerous influences that have shaped the child labor laws existing nowadays. There are a couple of federal labor laws in the US, one of which is Fair Labor Standards Act, which was introduced to enhance the working standards for working children and regular workers. Numerous states in the US have introduced their own laws in order to reach higher working standards. They include such aspects as an inability to work before the allowed age; work in a safe environment with secure conditions; reasonable pay for appropriate amount of time. Thus, I believe that politicians should not pay that much attention to the aspect of child labor since US incorporated satisfactory and reasonable laws. Therefore, no future changes are required to improve the current state of child labor laws.
Legislation of Labor
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Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 established the minimum age for different categories of workers, specifically 14 year old as the minimum age for employment, 16 years for work during school hours and 18 year old for different occupations that expose children at risk, e.g. mining. This act was exposed to significant changes, including economic circumstances and change in schedules. Moreover, this standard defined occupations that are hazardous to life. They include, but are not limited to driving, all types of mining work, manufacturing and storing of explosives, work with radioactive materials and operating the machinery. Under Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, there are certain limits for children work, which presume working day of 3 hours for school days for children under 16, maximum 18 hours per week, 8 hours for non-school days and 40 hours for non-school week. Child work is allowed from 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. However, if it is summer vacation, then night time can be raised until 9 p.m. Act also states that minors have to be paid no less than $4.25 per hour during first three months of their work. In the consequent months, their salary must increase to $7.25 per hour, which is known as the minimum wage nowadays.
Moreover, child labor laws state that children that work more than 5 hours in a sequence have to be given a break of minimum 35 minutes which they can spend in any way they want – rest, eat, walk, etc. When child is already 18 years old, he/she must also be given such a break, but child has all rights to refuse. When referring to mining, employer must give additional 15 minutes to the break if minor works more than 8 hours. If the shift lasts more than 11 hours, a minor can request additional half hour break for personal needs. There are some states that limit child labor when referring to certain occupations and environmental problems during the work. Moreover, some states forbid work from 10 p.m. till 5 a.m. for children of 16-17 years if they have to go to school the next day and do not have written permission from their parents. Some states also require employers to get certificates that state that a child is appropriate for certain work responsibilities and is eligible to perform certain duties. Such certificates can be obtained from the government office or child’s school administration.
What Can Be Done with Child Labor
As I have already mentioned, child labor laws are developed on the decent level and there is no urgent and heated discussion in this area. However, one aspect could be reconsidered – minimum wage. I believe that there is a need to increase the minimum salary for both children and adults due to the economic obstacles that every family faces nowadays. In most cases, children must work not to make some pocket money, but to help their families make ends meet. Children have to realize what quality life is and they have to work only in healthy and stable working environment for their well-being. Undoubtedly, children must not work in dangerous environments and have enough time for their schoolwork. Therefore, the increase in salary is the case here since children will not have so much to make the same profit. Our future must be focused on children and their well-being, but definitely not increasing work hours.
Judging from the abovementioned information about public policy on child labor, I can conclude that modern child labor laws are utilized at a decent level and do not contain numerous flaws in their legislature in comparison to other laws. Therefore, no urgent amendments are required in the change of policies. Much was done with the help of Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which made an impact on modern economic and social state of affairs.