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AFOP: Withdrawal of the DOL Rules Endangers Farmworker Children

[Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs Press Release]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Withdrawal of the DOL Rules Endangers Farmworker Children

Administration Pulls Protections for Children Employed in Agriculture

April 28, 2012—Washington, D.C.—Last night the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a press release announcing the Obama Administration would be withdrawing the proposed updates to the Hazardous Orders to protect children under the age of 16 who are hired on farms.  The rules would have restricted farmworker children, aged 12 through 15, from performing work that data has shown to be especially dangerous.

“We are profoundly disappointed the Administration will not be pursuing the proposed protections for children employed in agriculture,” said David Strauss, Executive Director of the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP). “These were common sense protections  that would have saved many children’s lives.”

The exemption in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 protects the tradition of children working on their parents’ farm. In a factsheet released by the DOL, “Myth vs. Fact,” it was stated that these agricultural protections would only apply to those children involved in an employer/employee relationship. Despite this fact, in the press release issued by the DOL, it stated the withdrawal “was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms.”

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