Last week, the Department of Labor issued proposed amendments to the regulations governing the employment of minors in agricultural occupations, and solicited public commentary on the proposal ahead of a planned public hearing. These proposed amendments, which would not apply to children working on farms owned by their parents, are designed to strengthen the workplace safety requirements for minors working in agriculture, by modifying and expanding the specific occupations deemed “particularly hazardous” within agriculture, bringing those occupations in line with those applicable to to other industries. 29 CFR §§ 570.50-570.68

“These changes are comprehensive,” observes Jackson Lewis partner Craig Roberts, an expert on the DOL’s child labor regulations and enforcement practices. “Now is the time for agricultural employers to review the proposed regulations and voice any objections to them that they may have. The current regulations have been on the books unchanged for over forty years. Once final, the amended regulations will become similarly permanent and will also likely be vigorously enforced by the Department of Labor.” 

Public comments regarding the proposed regulations must be submitted to the Department by November 1, 2011. We will provide further information regarding all DOL initiatives.