Labor Department withdraws rule to restrict child labor in agricultural

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, April 26, 2012 - ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­The U.S. Department of Labor announced today the withdrawal of the proposed rule dealing with children under the age of 16 who work in agricultural vocations. 

“The decision to withdraw this rule - including provisions to define the ‘parental exemption' - was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms.  To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration,” said the Department's statement released today. 

“It's good the Labor Department rethought the ridiculous regulations it was going to stick on farmers and their families,” said Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. “It would have been devastating to farm families across the country.  To even propose such regulations defies common sense, and shows a real lack of understanding as to how the family farm works. I'm glad the Obama administration came to its senses.”

The Department of Labor stated in its press release that instead of pursuing the child labor rule it will continue to work with USDA and rural stakeholders - such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, the Future Farmers of America and 4-H - “to develop an educational program to reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer agricultural working practices.”  

"Farm Bureau appreciates the administration's decision and efforts by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to listen to farmers, ranchers and other rural Americans," said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman.  "We also know that this would not have happened without the efforts of Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) and others in Congress, and we thank them for standing up for agriculture and the rural way of life."

 

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