Friday, February 3, 2012

Just in from Washington

Labor Department Will Re-propose Parental Exemption

Washington--The Labor Department on Wednesday announced that it will re-propose the portion of its regulation on child labor in agriculture interpreting the “parental exemption.” The decision to re-propose is in part a response to requests from the public and members of Congress that the agency allow an opportunity for more input on this aspect of the rule, according to an agency news release.

“The decision today by the Labor Department to re-propose the ‘parental exemption’ in the child labor rule is a positive step, but much more work is needed,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman in a statement. “We will continue to work with the administration to address our concerns with the rule. Any final regulation must make sense, not infringe on the traditional rights of family farms and not unnecessarily restrict the ability of young people to work in agriculture. As DOL’s proposed rule stands currently, that is not the case.”

Stallman also noted in the statement that Farm Bureau looks forward to working with USDA and DOL further on establishing a rule that “respects the importance of youth farm work in rural America and the importance it plays in our system of family-based agriculture.”

A Washington Post article on the issue included this comment from Stallman: “Laws and regulations need to be sensible and within reason, not prohibiting teenagers from performing simple everyday farm functions like operating a battery-powered screwdriver.”

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