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Child Labor Protection Act of 2007

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


CHILD LABOR PROTECTION ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - June 12, 2007)

Mr. HARE. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 2637) to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act, with respect to civil penalties for child labor violations.

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Mr. HARE. Mr. Speaker, I request 5 legislative days during which Members may insert materials relevant to H.R. 2637 into the Record.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Illinois?

There was no objection.

Mr. HARE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

(Mr. HARE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. HARE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 2637, the Child Labor Protection Act of 2007.

This bipartisan legislation is designed to address the most serious child labor violations, deter repeat occurrences, and strengthen the enforcement of laws to protect our Nation's most vulnerable workers.

This bill would increase the maximum penalty for child labor violations that lead to the death or serious injury of a minor from the current cap of $11,000 to $50,000 per violation. The bill would also permit the penalty to be doubled to $100,000 if it is determined that the violation was repeated or willful.

Additionally, the legislation amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to reflect the increases in penalties for child labor violations and for minimum wage and overtime violations.

The current language in the FLSA provides limits of $10,000 for child labor violations, $1,000 for minimum wage and overtime violations. These penalties were increased to $11,000 and $1,100, respectively, by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Act of 1990, as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996. The legislation before us today would simply conform the language of the FLSA to reflect these changes.

The increase in maximum penalties for violation of child labor laws is an important first step in our efforts to protect the health and safety of the estimated 3.2 million workers under the age of 18. The National Institute For Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that every year 230,000 youth under the age of 18 sustain workplace injuries, and between 60 and 70 die from occupational accidents.

This translates into a youth worker injury every 2 days and a fatality every 5 days.

Current penalties do not communicate an adequate level of governmental concern for the health and safety of the working young and do not provide sufficient motivation for employers to ensure a safe and legal workplace for youth.

Given the pervasiveness of youth employment and injuries and the fact that the current maximum penalties are too low to demand compliance with child labor laws, this legislation represents an important improvement in our laws that will help provide a safer occupational environment for young workers

Mr. Speaker, the Child Protection Act of 2007 was proposed by the administration and is supported by Education and Labor Committee Chairman Miller and Ranking Republican MCKEON, as well as Chairwoman Woolsey and Ranking Republican JOE WILSON of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. This bill represents an important first step in improving working conditions for our Nation's youth, and I urge all Members to support the legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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