New law passed Allowing 14 and 15-Year-Olds to Work Without Permits

Jake

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2023
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A new law has been passed in West Virginia that will now allow those aged 14 & 15 to work without the need for a work permit. The aim is to bring work experience to the youth in the area. There was a lot support for the new bill in the House of Delegates, as it easily passed with a vote of 83 for and 16 against. Though written parental consent for child employment is still required. They want to support younger hires, but also want to ensure parents are given the final word.

There will be some changes with this new law. There will be a shift in regulatory authority, in that state school superintendents no longer will be overseeing the hiring of minors. That authority has moved to the state's labor commissioner to take on. They will be responsible for issuing age certificates for work. The hope is to streamline the whole process.

You can read more on this new law from WV News here - WV News
 
Location
West Virginia, United States
Honestly, I'm kind of against this. Main reason why, is because it feels like child labor laws are going backwards. And I think the main reason they are doing this, is because people aren't filing into jobs as much these days. So I think some states are going to lower working ages to make up for it.

It's all well and great to teach them responsibility and how to work a job, giving them that experience is of course important. But I have a feeling this is going to result in lower work ages in the near future. What's to stop them from lowering it to 13 or even younger? That's my worry. Kids should be kids, out there experiencing their childhoods before making their jump into the work life.
 
I'm with @Winny on this one. Such a law will surely lead to the exploitation of minor children - all in the name of cheap labor for businesses. We enacted child labor laws for a reason. What a shame that West Virginia has turned back the clock. How long will it be before teenagers from impoverished families are encouraged to quit school and get low-wage jobs to help support their siblings?
 
This is awful. I believe it's a tool to pushback on workers' rights. The threat will be that if you aren't willing to do the job, they'll simply hire a teenager instead. I've noticed that several changes have been proposed to various state labor laws lately. None of the changes are meant to help workers.
 
On the news, they're always talking about business owners not being able to hire enough staff. Whether that's because the salary is too low, the job itself stinks, or people are just too lazy to work, remains to be seen. I guess hiring young people could be an answer to the staffing problem, though.
 
Honestly, I'm kind of against this. Main reason why, is because it feels like child labor laws are going backwards. And I think the main reason they are doing this, is because people aren't filing into jobs as much these days. So I think some states are going to lower working ages to make up for it.

It's all well and great to teach them responsibility and how to work a job, giving them that experience is of course important. But I have a feeling this is going to result in lower work ages in the near future. What's to stop them from lowering it to 13 or even younger? That's my worry. Kids should be kids, out there experiencing their childhoods before making their jump into the work life.
Same. I don't agree with lowering the working age, especially with how the government seems to want to increase the age of retirement. So they now want us to start younger so they can make us work longer into our lives. Children should be able to live their childhoods without having to work. It's not like it's a requirement, but it still feels weird to lower the legal working age.
I'm with @Winny on this one. Such a law will surely lead to the exploitation of minor children - all in the name of cheap labor for businesses. We enacted child labor laws for a reason. What a shame that West Virginia has turned back the clock. How long will it be before teenagers from impoverished families are encouraged to quit school and get low-wage jobs to help support their siblings?
Exactly! This will only cause issues going forward I believe. Like Winny said too, who's to say they won't continue to lower the working age.
This is awful. I believe it's a tool to pushback on workers' rights. The threat will be that if you aren't willing to do the job, they'll simply hire a teenager instead. I've noticed that several changes have been proposed to various state labor laws lately. None of the changes are meant to help workers.
I think it's from people not wanting to work lately. But that also doesn't mean you lower the working age to fill those jobs.
On the news, they're always talking about business owners not being able to hire enough staff. Whether that's because the salary is too low, the job itself stinks, or people are just too lazy to work, remains to be seen. I guess hiring young people could be an answer to the staffing problem, though.
It does seem to be a problem as of late, especially after the pandemic. It's being said that businesses are finding it tough to find people who want to work. I think a lot blame it on the pandemic because many were forced out of work, but I think it's more a mix of people not being happy with their jobs.

The sad truth, is that they will continue to try and lower the working age. I just hope most places vote against it.
 
I've noticed that several changes have been proposed to various state labor laws lately. None of the changes are meant to help workers.

It just depends where you look. At least a couple examples come to mind of democratically controlled states passing pro-worker laws recently (whether you agree on the economic consequences is another matter). For instance, Michigan recently repealed its 2012 right-to-work law, which had allowed union workers to opt out of paying dues. The repeal improves union power at the bargaining table and is seen as a step toward making Michigan a stronger worker rights state. There's also California's new $20 minimum wage for fast food workers that went into effect yesterday.

I know what you mean about how the overall trend seems to be toward reducing worker protections and benefits but I think that's more true in red states vs. blue states.

The sad truth, is that they will continue to try and lower the working age. I just hope most places vote against it.

Just to be clear, 14- and 15-year-olds were always allowed to work before the new law but just needed a permit, right? So I know it seems like the working age has been lowered in West Virginia but really all the state's done is remove a barrier to teenagers working. Were teenager work permit requirements highly protective to begin with or was it more of a rubber stamp process? I'm not saying the change is good or bad, I'm just saying you kind of need to know how the process worked originally before you can understand the new law's real world consequences.
 
It just depends where you look. At least a couple examples come to mind of democratically controlled states passing pro-worker laws recently (whether you agree on the economic consequences is another matter). For instance, Michigan recently repealed its 2012 right-to-work law, which had allowed union workers to opt out of paying dues. The repeal improves union power at the bargaining table and is seen as a step toward making Michigan a stronger worker rights state. There's also California's new $20 minimum wage for fast food workers that went into effect yesterday.

I know what you mean about how the overall trend seems to be toward reducing worker protections and benefits but I think that's more true in red states vs. blue states.



Just to be clear, 14- and 15-year-olds were always allowed to work before the new law but just needed a permit, right? So I know it seems like the working age has been lowered in West Virginia but really all the state's done is remove a barrier to teenagers working. Were teenager work permit requirements highly protective to begin with or was it more of a rubber stamp process? I'm not saying the change is good or bad, I'm just saying you kind of need to know how the process worked originally before you can understand the new law's real world consequences.
Yes they were allowed to work if they obtained a work permit. The new rules will allow them to work some jobs without the need for a permit. I don't know how easy it was to obtain a permit at that age before the new rules, but I'm sure there are some extra steps they might have had to do compared to what a legal adult would need to do. But that's just a guess on my end.

Where I live, in Wisconsin I always thought 16 was the legal working age, but I guess it's as young as 14, and as young as 12 for agriculture work. I didn't know they allowed kids so young to work. Ya learn something new every day.
 
People under the age of 16 years are children. This is according to the United Nations and a international laws. Therefore, I am against allowing 14 and 15 years old boys and girls to work. Permit or no permit, this should be banned. If you want to let kids experience work, you can try something else but not working for money.
 
One of the benefits of this move is that it would help the teenagers build skills like being responsible, and being able to work within a team. It is good for their teenage development if executed in a streamlined pattern. The challenge with this is that these kids can easily be exploited and measures should be put in place to ensure that this doesn't happen.
 
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