Bill Would Change Work Hour Limits, Other Regulations For Workers Under 18

Des Moines, Iowa — Teenagers would be allowed to work longer hours and in a wider array of jobs under a bill that’s cleared an Iowa Senate subcommittee.

Brad Epperly, a lobbyist for the Iowa Grocer Industry Association, says key parts of the bill would let 14 and 15-year-olds with a driver’s permit drive to and from a job and all kids of high school age could work later at night.

Seventeen-year-olds, with some exceptions, could work at any time if the bill becomes law. The work hour limitations for other teens would be adjusted, too. Jessica Dunker is president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association and the Iowa Hotel and Lodging Association. She told lawmakers current law discriminates against kids who want to drive themselves to work.

Expanding work hours for teenagers is also a priority for the hospitality industry. Dunker says South Dakota, Nebraska, and Minnesota have already extended the hours students can work.

Connie Ryan, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, says children shouldn’t be asked to solve the state’s workforce shortage.

The bill would let teenagers do light assembly work in manufacturing plants and give state officials the authority to issue waivers so teens could work in other industries. Ryan says it will be children from minority and immigrant households who wind up getting hurt.

Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, says kids should not work in manufacturing.

Senator Adrian Dickey, a Republican from Packwood, says some restrictions on teen workers do not make sense.

Dickey and another Republican senator have forwarded the bill to the Senate Workforce Committee for consideration.



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