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Indiana has just loosened restrictions protecting teen workers

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2024 | Employment Law

With a law that took effect at the beginning of this month, Indiana joined the states that are relaxing their child labor laws in one way or another. The controversial law, which was the subject of strong debate in the state legislature, was signed earlier this year by Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Under the new law, 14 through 16-year-olds can now work later than 7pm on school nights, which was prohibited in the past. Further, those who are 16 or over no longer have any restrictions.

Lawmakers’ reasons for relaxing the law

Lawmakers who supported the legislation claimed that these changes would help ease the labor shortage in the state. Further, they said the new law was consistent with federal regulations.

One lawmaker gave a statistic that teen participation in the workforce linked a reported drop in the teen workforce over the past few decades to growing academic issues. He said that “because they’re not finding that work ethic, they’re not finding their way.”

Another lawmaker supporting the bill noted that it simply allowed employers to schedule teens later, but it didn’t require them to. He claimed that parents have the ultimate say – noting that “when you’re talking about minors – parents are in control.”

Although the legislation passed by a large margin in the Indiana Senate, it was nonetheless strongly opposed by some lawmakers. One who spoke out against the bill called it “irresponsible and dystopian.”

What parents need to know

If you’re among the many Hoosiers who have a teen who’s part of the workforce – even for a few hours a day after school or during summer vacation  — it’s crucial to be informed about the current Indiana child labor laws. Don’t assume that their employer necessarily knows the law or doesn’t ignore it. 

Everyone in the workplace, regardless of age, has rights. If your child’s employer is violating those rights, even after it’s been brought to their attention or if they retaliate against your child because you or they asserted those rights, it may be worthwhile to get legal guidance.