Wednesday, April 25, 2012

No, really: Are the feds trying to end farm chores for kids?

Reason weighs in with round two of the debate:

Farm Bureau notes that DOL claims its “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” will not change the “parental exemption” in the current law, but Farm Bureau says DOL’s new language would not include an exemption for farms that are incorporated or formed as family partnerships. 
“Many farm families in Pennsylvania and across the United States have incorporated or formed a family partnership for estate planning, insurance and other reasons.  They are still family farms with moms and dads making the decisions over what work duties their children have been trained to do and are capable of doing in a safe manner.  Farmers understand that there are potential dangers on the farm and they abide by existing farm labor laws,” added [PFB President Carl T.] Shaffer.
That doesn't sound right. This is what the proposed rule in the Federal Register says:
The Department interprets ``operated by'' the parent or person
standing in the place of the parent to mean that he or she exerts
active and direct control over the operation of the farm or ranch by
making day-to-day decisions affecting basic income, work assignments,
hiring and firing of employees, and exercising direct supervision of
the farm or ranch work. A ranch manager, therefore, who meets these
criteria could employ his or her own children under 16 years of age on
the ranch he or she operates without regard to the agricultural
hazardous occupations orders, even if the ranch is not owned by the
parent or a person standing in the place of the parent, provided the
work is outside school hours.
To me, that very much sounds like that if you are running a farm—even if, for legal reasons, the ownership is incorporated or in a family partnership—you can put your kid to work on the farm.

Maybe I'm misinterpreting everything I'm reading here. But everything that conservative and libertarian outlets are saying about the proposed child-labor rules for farms doesn't seem to comport with scrutiny of the actual rules.

1 comment:

namefromthepast said...

It seems you are right about the the wording for families etc.

What I don't get is where the push is coming from to introduce this rule?

Has the DOL been swamped with requests or has there been some outbreak of problems somewhere that I'm not aware of?

I did a quick search for a group or individual promoting or defending this rule change as a good thing but nothing came up.