Child labor is not equal. The image of children taking a part-time job to teach responsibility and work ethic has its place in society. Children working in these positions are protected by federal law from exploitation, danger and remain on track for high school graduation, except for children working as farmworkers. Federal law exposes children as young as ten to dangerous working conditions and child labor exploitation. The children in farmwork are often working out of necessity to contribute financially to their family. Farmworker parents cannot support their family with meager wages in farm work. Children are pressured to assume work their young bodies are not ready for. Federal law makes matters worse with unequal protection for children working in farmwork. Below you will find a list of differences with intent to display the inequality children in farm work endure.
This post is a summary from Children in Fields The Facts You Should Know by Association of Farmworkers Opportunity Programs.
Children In Agriculture
- Children can perform particularly hazardous work starting at age 16
- Children can work unlimited hours outside of school hours
- The legal minimum age for being able to do any work is 14
- There are many exceptions to the legal minimum age. As a result, many children 12 and younger work in the fields, with no restrictions on hours except that they cannot work during school hours.
- Children who work more than 40 hours per week are not entitled to overtime pay
- Children are exempt from minimum wage provisions in certain cases
Children in Non-Agriculture Occupations
- Children cannot perform particularly hazardous work until age 18
- Children have struct limitso n the amount of time they can work outside of school hours
- The legal minimum age for being able to do any work is 16
- There are few exceptions to the standard minimum age. As a result, most children under age 16 who work are 14-15 years old in retailing, with strict limits on hours, such as not more than 3 hours on a school day and not more than 8 hours on a non-school day.
- Children are not allowed to work more than 40 hours per week
- Children are required to be paid the minimum wage
Farms are hazardous places. According to the National Ag Safety Database, one kid dies every three days in an agriculture-related incident. This is due to the many dangers that threaten them, such as ATVs, manure pits, pesticides, tractors, and other power-driven machinery. Many children also suffocate in graniers, where they fall into the quicksand of corn or silage and cannot crawl out. Others are alone with equipment when it catches on their clothes or boots, and are pulled to their deaths. Current exceptions allow children to share space with dangerous equipment and are often allowed to operate them as if they were adults with equal ability and protection under the law.
Article abstract from Farmworker Children FACTS. Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs. Sourced from https://afop.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/CIFC-Publication-Final-1.29.18.pdf