Nebraska’s child labor laws are designed to protect the educational opportunities of minors and keep them from being employed in jobs and under conditions that are detrimental to their health or well-being.
In looking at Nebraska’s laws on child labor, I think it is interesting to see that Nebraska, like many states, does place additional restrictions on 16 and 17 year olds above what is found in federal law. Like many states, Nebraska requires minors to obtain a employment certificate. Employers must keep the certificate on file for any minors they may hire, and return it to the child when they leave. The certificate is validated by the school official and must include proof of the child’s birth date.
I noticed that Nebraska law allows for two exemptions on the employment certificate. The first is for children who work on a golf course as a golf caddy. The second is for children who work for their parents, although they are still bound by the rules about how many hours they can work and they type of employment they can accept.
In reviewing the work hour restrictions placed on 14 and 15 year olds, I found that Nebraska’s law is very much like the Federal law. During times school is in session, minors of this age may not work during school hours. They can only work until 10 p.m., unless school is not being held the next day.
Nebraska’s laws restrict working hours for children under sixteen. They may not work more than 48 hours in a week, nor more than 8 hours in a day. Children are not permitted to work before 6 a.m., and children under 14 cannot work after 8 p.m. These rules include children who are performing detasseling, and children under 12 are not permitted to be hired for detasseling.
As violations of the child labor laws move to the forefront in several states, it’s crucial that all employers adhere to their state’s child labor laws. In recent news, the Nebraska Workforce Development Department of Labor reports a number of labor violations that put children at risk.
Specifically targeted are businesses that exploit youngsters through door-to-door sales of candy in the Omaha and Lincoln areas. Some reports show that children as young as 7 are being lured by these disreputable employers.
Employers and parents should be aware that child labor laws cover children in enterprises involving door-to-door sales, including candy sales. According to Labor Commissioner Fernando Lecuona III, such activity violates child labor laws and puts kids in potentially dangerous situations. “Children must be at least 14 years old and have a valid employment certificate to work in this kind of activity,” Lecuona said. “We take violations of this law very seriously. It is imperative that we protect children from the dangers that exist through these door-to-door sales.”
Many employers don’t realize that by not properly displaying the child labor laws poster for their state, they may be violating the law. While it is legal for children to sell cookies or candy door-to-door for a charity, many companies have sprung up that exploit the children for profit. In coordination with a new federal initiative known as Youth Rules, many states are focusing on unscrupulous employers who violate the rules regarding employment of minors.
Bill Hetzler, Labor Law Compliance Manager, said potential threats with these door-to-door sales include traffic dangers and harmful activity that could take place with people who invite the children into their home. “It is important for parents and children to keep a lookout for individuals who violate child labor laws,” Hetzler said. “These individuals post a tremendous danger to children by taking advantage of their vulnerability and putting them in dangerous situations.”