Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a bill into law that will let teenagers work longer hours in Iowa and be paid to work in some jobs that are off limits to minors today.
Reynolds made her comments during a recent appearance on Iowa Press on Iowa P-B-S. The law, which takes effect July 1st, will let 14 and 15 year olds work later at night. Sixteen and 17 year olds will be able to serve alcohol in a restaurant, if their parent gives permission. Teenagers are still barred from logging, mining and other dangerous work, like on the slaughter line in a meatpacking plant. But if they’re supervised by an adult at an approved work site, teens will be able to do light assembly work, use power tools and work in industrial laundries and meat freezers.
Critics say Reynolds and Republican lawmakers are trying to solve the state’s workforce shortage with child labor and they say some parts of the law will conflict with federal regulations. House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst says letting 14 and 15 year olds work six hours a day — until 9 p.m. during the school year — is the wrong move.
One element of the new law calls for a study of whether teenagers should be allowed to drive to and from work. Teenagers can get school permits now to drive to and from school and school activities. The bill originally called for letting minors with a driving permit commute to work as well. The governor backs that change.
The new law removes the requirement that businesses have to get a state permit to hire minors.