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June 5, 2024

ICYMI: Legislation to Increase Penalties for Child Labor Violations Becomes Law

Law increases financial penalties for businesses that violate the law, incentivizes reporting and improves transparency

DENVER, CO –  Governor Jared Polis yesterday signed legislation sponsored by Representatives Sheila Lieder and Judy Amabile into law administratively to ramp up financial penalties for businesses that violate child labor laws.

“Over the years, Colorado has made important progress to improve child labor laws - but we must ensure violators are held accountable for their actions,” said Rep. Sheila Lieder, D-Littleton. “Under current law, businesses face small or non-existent fines for child labor violations that could be putting our youth at risk. Our law significantly increases financial penalties to hold bad actors accountable, and importantly, keep our youth safe. We’re also committed to protecting those who speak out about child labor violations from retaliation, and this bill sets up guidelines to ensure those whistleblowers are protected.”

“We need to ensure our state’s child labor laws are working as intended – the health and safety of our youth depends on it,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder. “This law encourages violation reporting, improves transparency around enforcement measures, and increases penalties for violations of these common sense protections. Outlined in the law are additional whistleblower protections to keep those who report child labor violations safe from retaliation. At the end of the day, we need to ensure our businesses are operating lawfully and our youth is protected, and this law brings us closer to that important goal.”

HB24-1095 updates the Colorado Youth Employment Opportunity Act of 1971 and strengthens the penalty structure. Under current law, first-time child labor law violators face no fines or fines of only a few hundred dollars. This law raises the total range a violator may be fined for first and repeated offenses. HB24-1095 also removes legal disincentives that keep victims of child labor violations from reporting and protect child workers from employer retaliation.

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