Given the shortage of workers in any business sector around Michigan, it may not be surprising child labor laws are violated more often.

The frequency of violations in Michigan has jumped enough that lawmakers are proposing tougher fines.

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What is the fine for violating child labor laws in Michigan?

Currently the Michigan Department of Labor issues a fine up to $500 and/or a year in jail. The proposed increase in fines would be:

  • $5,000 first offense by the business
  • $25,000 for a second offense,
  • $50,000 for a third (and beyond).

Additional charges would start at misdemeanor and increase to felony with multiple violations.

Credit: Google Street View
Credit: Google Street View
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Why the harsher penalties?

Recently a 17-year-old lost his hand in a West Michigan food processing plant meat grinder. Crains Detroit Business notes, other underage workers were found there, too.

Violations have increased almost 70% around the country since 2018 according to a USA Today report.

Child Labour
Child Labour - Two young boys standing on electric looms in order to reach the top shelf while at work in a cotton mill, Georgia. Both wear ragged clothes, and one is barefoot, USA. Getty Images
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What's the legal age minors can work in Michigan?

Depending on the age of the child, they're allowed to work varying hours and restricted to certain types of jobs.

  • Any minor under the age of 18 must have a work permit.
  • Minors are not allowed to work during the school day.
  • 14- and 15-year-olds can work no more than 48 combined school and work hours per week
  • 14 and 15-year-olds can only work between the hours of 7am-9pm
  • 16- and 17-year-olds can only work 24 hours per week while school is in session (up to 48 per week without school).
  • 16– and 17-year-olds may
    • not work before 6:00am or after 10:30pm Sun-Thurs.
    • work until 11:30pm on Fri & Sat when school is in session.
    • work until 11:30pm 7 days per week when school is not in session.

The State of Michigan has many other guidelines for employing minors. It's a good idea for parents and employers to review the laws, thoroughly.

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