House adopts bill defining ‘occasional work’ for children

Kids WorkingBy Bob Eschliman



Thursday, the Iowa House of Representatives considered a bill to add only seven lines to existing child labor laws, and proceeded to debate the proposed legislation for more than 30 minutes.

House File 397 defined the term “occasional work” as it applies to children. The definition, which did not previously exist, is stated as a period not to exceed 6 weeks, during which time the child may not work more than 8 hours a day, nor 40 hours a week.

Current state child labor law does not prohibit a child from any part-time, occasional, or volunteer work for nonprofit organizations generally recognized as educational, charitable, religious, or community service in nature. Democrats, who largely opposed HF 397, felt the new definition wasn’t restrictive enough, while Republicans said the bill was only necessary because the word “occasional” was being inconsistently applied.

State Rep. Tedd Gassman (R-Scarville), floor manager for the bill, said in his closing remarks that parents are the best regulators of child labor. He said that was the spirit of the proposed legislation.

HF 397 was adopted on a 55-41 vote. CLICK HERE to see full video of the debate.

The House also unanimously adopted the following bills:

  • House File 348 – an act to require the Iowa Parole Board to notify crime victims of parole hearings.
  • House File 395 – an act to amend Iowa Code as it relates to the regulation of pharmacy benefits managers.
  • House File 421 – an act to amend the qualifications for community college career and technical education instructors.
  • House File 449 – an act to establish an inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system administered by the Iowa Department of Human Services.