Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Thursday that her administration is launching a comprehensive effort to address child labor violations in the state. This move comes in response to a sharp increase in reported violations last year, which saw a 68% spike.
To combat this problem, Governor Hochul is creating a task force that will work with schools and local governments to educate parents, children, and employers on the rights of young workers. The task force will be led by the state Department of Labor and will include participation from the State Police, State Education Department, the Office of New Americans, the Division of Human Rights, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Office of Children and Family Services, and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
The governor’s efforts will also extend the public education campaign on labor rights for young people and encourage employers to sign a pledge to educate their workers on labor rights. Additionally, a labor trafficking response unit is being formed at the Department of Labor, which will include staff in New York City and Albany.
In a statement, Governor Hochul emphasized the importance of protecting young workers from exploitative labor practices. “For decades, New York State has led the nation in establishing child labor protections like limiting working hours on school nights and establishing minimum wage standards for minors,” she said. “With the recent uptick in reports of child labor violations, these new measures will educate youth workers on their rights in the workplace and hold employers accountable, creating safer workplaces for all New Yorkers.”
Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon also expressed her support for the governor’s initiative. “Protecting and empowering New York’s workers is central to what we do at the New York State Department of Labor, so we are determined to lead the nation in guarding our most vulnerable workers from exploitation,” she said. “This new task force and our continued campaign will give us the tools to protect vulnerable workers who are just entering the world of work.”
Overall, the governor’s efforts represent a significant step forward in protecting the rights of young workers in New York State and combating exploitative labor practices.
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