DENVER, CO - The House Business Affairs & Labor Committee today passed legislation to strengthen Colorado’s child labor protections. It passed by a vote of 8-3.
“The drastic increase in child labor across the nation has called for improvements to Colorado’s child labor protections to ensure the safety of our kids,” said Rep. Sheila Lieder, D-Lakewood. “There are bad actors that are mistreating underage workers, and current law doesn’t allow them many legal protections in court. We’re expanding Colorado law to provide more legal avenues for kids, or their parents, to pursue justice and accountability for workplace violations.“
Current Colorado law only allows a child worker to pursue legal action against a company for workers’ compensation. HB23-1196 amends language in the Colorado Youth Employment Opportunity Act of 1971 to expand the legal action that a child, or a parent of a child, can take to hold a company accountable for breaking child labor laws.
The bill is in response to many recent child labor law violations, including a food sanitation corporation with Colorado facilities that was fined $1.5 million in penalties. Teens have twice the risk of nonfatal on-the-job injuries than older workers, necessitating the expansion of legal action that an underaged worker can pursue.