The U-S Department of Labor continues to work on legislation that would change child labor laws regarding farm and ranch work which would impact many children currently working in rural areas of Nebraska. U-S Department of Labor spokesman Mark Hancock says the regulations would prohibit anyone under the age of 16 from operating power equipment like tractors, augers, in grain elevators and from handling pesticides. This is to prevent serious or fatal accidents involving young people.
Hancock says these regulations would not impact children who work on farms owned by their parents. Parents will continue to have the freedom to work children as much or little as they want without interference from the Department of Labor. However, the law would exclude them from working on neighbors or grandparent’s farms or ranches.
Hancock says the law also excludes children working with livestock. However, this does not include showing cattle, hogs and sheep at county fairs as the children are not in an employment relationship at that time. The regulations would not apply to children at fairs or at other 4-H competitions.
There has not been a change in child labor laws regarding farm work in the past 40 years.