Child labor laws ensure that employers do not exploit children. Thelaws guarantee the safety of children while at the places of work. Inaddition, is ensuring that employers do not plan for children to workwhen they should be at school. Child labor laws vary by country andstate, but generally, law mandates employers that hire children tomeet child labor laws, which include laws linked to overtime, wagecollection, minimum wage and working conditions. In the UnitedStates, the laws entail many statutes and policies that standardizethe employment of minors, and affects children below fourteen yearsin most occupations. However, despite the efforts to ensure employersdo not exploit working children, there are exceptions to child laborlaws. Children that work for family businesses, in particularoccupations like entertainment and youth work are exempt from somechild labor laws. This results in the debate on if there should beexceptions to child labor laws.
Exceptions to child labor laws are appropriate when applying tospecific occupations like family business and select occupations.According to Lindblad (1), a child that works for the parents orguardians in a family enterprise, like a farm, is not subject to alllabor rules. This is because the family business is exempt frompaying federal unemployment tax on the salaries of children. Notably,the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) makes exceptions to familyenterprises, which means guardians and parents have no mandate toconform to child labor rules concerning salary or hour limitations.The exceptions allow parents to dictate what work and for how manyhours their children can work. Other occupations that do not requireconforming to child labor policies include, allowing children belowfourteen years to work as performers, to deliver newspapers andbabysit (Lindblad 1). The occupations are categorized as not riskyfor children, resulting in child labor laws exceptions.
There should be exceptions when the occupation in question resultsin professional development and work experience for the minor. Childlabor regulations make it illegal for employers to allow minors towork for the period of school going hours. However, exceptions applyto youth work sponsored by the federal government. Lindblad (1) givesthe example of minors attending a Career Education Program. Althoughthe children attend the program at school hours, it prepares them forreal life occupation, once they are of legal age. The program as wellencourages students to work hard at school to pursue universitydiplomas and join careers of their choice in prospect. Such programstake up time that students should be spending in classes. On theother hand, they gain more knowledge and experience that is onlypossible to attain through taking part in youth work. Minor employeeslearn the importance of being on time, how to save money and the needto work hard (Semuels 1). Thus, such form of child labor is not aninfringement of child labor laws, making exceptions permissible.
Despite the pros for exceptions, there are also cons. Child laborlaws guarantees working children are not exploited and any exceptionsmake it easier to violate these laws. Child labor is illegal sincechildren are not in the suitable physical, emotional or cognitivestate to determine if they are being exploited or not. Additionally,children are not mature enough to perform tasks safely (Boesveld 1).An illustration is making exceptions to working in a family farm. Achild working in a family farm works under the rule of the parent,who decides what the child should do or not. Supposing that the workinvolves the use of dangerous farm equipment, there is a highpossibility that the child harms himself or herself when working.This is especially so since the farm is among the most hazardousplaces to work (Semuels 1). Due to an exception allowing children towork in family farms, it will be difficult to ensure the wellbeing ofchildren working in such occupations. This means that the children donot work under safe working conditions, which in turn results toviolation of child labor laws.
There should be no exceptions to child labor laws because itenhances the possibility of unlawful child labor. Child labor ruleshave been effective in protecting children from child labor. However,exceptions to the laws make it possible for illegitimate child laborto take place. According to Yellowitz (1), infringements of the lawsprogress amid migrant agriculture employees that face financialconstraints. Since, they mostly work in agriculture farms, and thelaw allows minors to work in farms, determining if the employment islawful is impossible. Yellowitz (1) further notes, children ofunlawful migrants have become victims of child labor by employersthat own garment industries. As illegal citizens, immigrants, due tofear of exposing their presence in America allow their children toexperience exploitation by employers. This demonstrates thatexceptions make it possible for working minors to become victims ofexploitation, as they work longer hours.
Exceptions to child labor rules encourage children to work insteadof studying. Child labor, specifically in farms, results in a povertycycle. Minors leave school or do not excel academically because, theyfeel less motivated to study and have more interest to work for manyhours (Semuels 1). When a minor drops out of school and is accustomedto working, more of their time will highly be spent working. Hence,they do not gain education, and lack the opportunity to improve theirlife. They are likely to end up working in their family farms even atlegal working age. Similarly, poor academic performance limits thechances of securing good employment. Hence, confining minors tobecoming farm laborers, both as minors and adults, which create acycle of poverty in families that own family farms.
Exceptions make it easier for employers to subject minors tounhealthy work conditions. It is easier to exploit minors at placesof employment when compared to adults. Adults are more aware of theirrights unlike children, which makes it easier for children to work inunhealthy work surrounding without complaining. This in turn poses athreat to their wellbeing. For instance, supposing a child is workingin a family business that involves handling toxic fumes. The toxicfumes lead to lung damage for minors (The Week 1). Anotherillustration is children working in embroidery, whose eyesight is,affected (The Week 1). When employers get a leeway in hiringchildren, chances of exploitation enhances.
In conclusion, child labor rules are very important and a must inevery country. The laws ensure minors are not subject to abuse byemployers. Although there are exceptions in some labor laws, makingit legal for minors to work without pay, more research shows thereshould be no such exceptions. This paper concludes that exceptionsare unnecessary because they make it simpler to violate child laborregulations, enhance the likelihood of unlawful child labor,encourages minors to work instead of schooling and exposes childrento unhealthy working conditions.
Boesveld, Sarah. Child labor just chores? Debate rages afterSaskatchewan bans kids from working on family farm. NationalPost, 11 Aug. 2014. Web. 18 Jul. 2015.
Lindblad, Marilyn. Exceptions to Child Labor Laws. Chron,2015. Web. 18 Jul. 2015.
The Week. Child Labor, 24 Jun. 2008. Web. 18 Jul. 2015.
Semuels, Alana. How Common Is Child Labor in the US? The Atlantic,15 Dec. 2015. Web. 18 Jul. 2015. <http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/12/how-common-is-chid- labor-in-the-us/383687/>
Yellowitz, Irwin. Child Labor. History, 2015. <http://www.history.com/topics/child-labor>