What is the impact of child labor laws?

Child labor laws are in place to prevent minor children from being forced to work in ways that are considered detrimental to them. Child labor laws state that children under the age of 14 cannot hold jobs. There are certain exceptions for those under the age of 16 years. For example, there are certain hours during which they cannot be at work. Under child labor laws and the occupational safety and health act, those under the age of 18 cannot hold jobs that require certain hazardous tasks to be performed.

The impact of child labor laws on the children themselves as well as on the economy and the well-being of the country in general are significant. Studies have shown that, in countries with less stringent or less enforced child labor laws, children receive significantly less education than they otherwise would, largely because they are working rather than going to school. Children who are not allowed to work tend to succeed at school and have more time for proper development, as well as better health, social skills, and stronger future earning power.

Child labor laws also impact the economy of a country. With the child labor laws in place, “sweatshop” style jobs significantly decrease. While children may be put to work at menial jobs that may not pay much and may require long hours, it is less likely that adults will accept these positions, particularly when the need for employment is less. Any country employing children probably has a very high need of income amongst its population. With less “cheap labor” to take such jobs, employers are in turn forced to improve conditions for their employees in order to keep people hired, thus the job market in general shows better, more humane conditions and higher income than it otherwise would.

Getting Help

If you believe child labor laws are being violated, consult with an attorney as soon as possible for advice on how to proceed regarding the suspected violation.