Wisconsin vote on working age in summer; Wisconsin Assembly approves

The Wisconsin Assembly sent Gov. Tony Evers a bill on Thursday that would allow teenagers to work longer hours during the busy summer tourism months.

The measure passed on a voice vote is backed by Republicans and the state’s hotel, restaurant and grocery industries, but opposed by Democrats and the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. The state Senate also passed it on a voice vote in October.

Current law does not allow 14- and 15-year-olds to work later than 7 p.m. from after Labor Day until May 31 and no later than 9 p.m. over the summer.

The bill would allow employees under age 16 to work until 11 p.m. when they don’t have school the next day. The changes would not affect businesses covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which includes those with annual sales over $500,000.

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Supporters say the changes will help smaller businesses struggling with the state’s worker shortage and be a particular benefit over the summer and weekends when the need is highest for more workers.

The AFL-CIO opposes the measure, saying it rolls back child labor protection laws and supporters have not shown why the change is needed.

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