Wingnut Fake Outrage of the Day: Obama Prohibiting Farm Chores for Kids!
I’ve seen this pop up twice today on my Facebook feed, and people are spitting nails:
Rural kids, parents angry about Labor Dept. rule banning farm chores
A proposal from the Obama administration to prevent children from doing farm chores has drawn plenty of criticism from rural-district members of Congress. But now it’s attracting barbs from farm kids themselves.
The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child-labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.
The evil Obama Administration is one again attacking a bedrock value of America! He wants to destroy every facet of our society!
Except, of course, it isn’t true:
Five Facts about the Proposed Child Labor in Agriculture Rule
Fact # 1: The proposed Child Labor in Agriculture rule will not prohibit all people under the age of 18 from working on a farm.
The proposed rule would not change any of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum age standards for agricultural employment. Under the FLSA, the legal age to be employed on a farm without restrictions is 16. The FLSA also allows children between the ages of 12 and 15 years, under certain conditions, to be employed outside of school hours to perform nonhazardous jobs on farms. Children under the age of 12 may be employed with parental permission on very small farms to perform nonhazardous jobs outside of school hours.
Young people can be employed to perform many jobs on the farm – and this would be true even if the proposed rule were adopted as written. The proposed rule would, however, prohibit the employment of workers under the age of 18 in nonagricultural occupations in the farm-product raw materials wholesale trade industries. Prohibited establishments would include country grain elevators, grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, feed yards, stockyard, livestock exchanges, and livestock auctions not on a farm or used solely by a single farmer. What these locations have in common is that many workers, including children, have suffered occupational deaths or serious injuries working in these facilities over the last few years.
Fact # 2: The proposed rule would not eliminate the parental exemption for owners/operators of a family farm.
The parental exemption for the owner or operator of a farm is statutory and cannot be eliminated through the regulatory process. A child of any age may perform any job, even hazardous work, at any age at any time on a farm owned by his or her parent. A child of any age whose parent operates a farm may also perform any task, even hazardous jobs, on that farm but only outside of school hours. So for children working on farms that are registered as LLCs, but operated solely by their parents, the parental exemption would still apply… .
For the sake of brevity, the other facts are: the rule won’t eliminate 4-H and FFA programs, the rule won’t prohibit children from helping out their neighbors, and kids will still be able to bring animals to the county fair or to market.
This isn’t about chores or working on the family farm. It’s about child labor employed as hired farmhands or as workers in agriculture-related businesses, such as grain elevators and stockyards.
The proposed regulations are part of a reevaluation of hazardous occupation orders for child labor—a process that’s been going on since at least 1998. And the nefarious Obama power grab that has given the secretary of labor this awesome authority to determine what work is too dangerous for children? It’s called the Fair Labor Standards Act, and it was passed in 1938.
I’m not quite sure how wingnuts come to believe that everything that goes on in the vast executive branch is an Obama plot. When would the man sleep? Can’t they remember that he’s supposed to be lazy and shiftless?
No one is saying you have to agree with the administration’s policies, but is it too much to ask that you not be blindingly stupid regarding how our country works?
(The proposed regulations are surprisingly readable for a regulatory document.)