As you are no doubt aware, farmers can employ their underage children to do on-farm tasks. However there is a push by the U.S. Department of Labor to “increase parity” between agriculture and other industries. The department is proposing a change to the rule that allows children to work on their parents’ farms as long as the parents are the majority owners of that farm. The suggested change would bar kids from working for their parents unless the farm was “wholly owned” by the parents. For obvious reasons, this has caused quite a stir among Washington farmers and other ag-related business owners.
In fact, there were so many outcries in opposition to the department’s proposal that the agency has been forced to retract it in its original form. There will be a revised rule change proposal issued by the U.S. Department of Labor later this summer, and I’ll make sure to keep you apprised of it when it comes out.