Ohio Lawmaker Reintroduces Bill Extending Working Hours for Teenagers

An Ohio Republican Senator has reintroduced a bill that aims to allow teenagers to work until 9:00 p.m. on a school night if it becomes law.

Senate Bill (SB) 30 sponsored by State Senator Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) aims to allow kids as young as 14 to work late during the school year if their parents give permission, to help with “staffing problems.”

According to the Ohio Department of Commerce, current Ohio law prohibits kids under 16 to work past 7:00 p.m.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 13 states allow 14 and 15-year-olds to work these additional hours.

“Senate Bill 30 would expand the hours that 14 and 15 year olds can work until 9:00 p.m. year round as long as they have parental consent. Doing so will help employers across Ohio with their staffing problems and encourage kids to further develop their good working skills. To ensure no problems between our state’s code and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, I have also introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 2, which urges Congress to make this change at the federal level,” Schaffer told The Ohio Star.

The bill has already been heard once before. Last General Assembly, it was filed as a bipartisan bill that passed the Senate unanimously and entered the House on the final day of the session.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) prohibits 14- and 15-year-olds to work past 9:00 p.m. during the summer, and past 7:00 p.m. during the school year. According to the proposed legislation, minors who want to work until 9:00 pm during the school year must have a parent or legal guardians approval.

In the analysis by the Legislative Service Commission, the nonpartisan agency that drafts and researches bills, the team found that “if an employer is subject to both the FLSA and Ohio’s Minor Labor Law as amended by the bill, it appears that the more protective FLSA would prevail.”

“Currently, federal and state law prohibit 14-15 year olds to be employed past 9:00 p.m. during the summer, and past 7:00 p.m. during the school year. In order to help small businesses that struggled to find adequate staffing during the pandemic, a local chamber of commerce proposed permitting these minors to work until 9:00 p.m. year round as long as their parents consent. Senate Bill 30 does this while also reinforcing the guardrails protecting 14 and 15 year-olds that are already in code. For example, the parent or guardian and school must sign off on the work permit before a 14 and 15 year old starts employment,” Schaffer told The Star.

SB 30 would change the language that currently allows students to work past 7:00 p.m. between “June 1st and September 1st or during any school holiday of five school days or more” to all year with parental permission.

The Workforce and Higher Education Committee did not hear any objections to the bill during the previous session.

The Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) gave substantial support for the bill last session and applauded the reintroduction of the legislation.

The ORA managing director for external affairs and government relations Tod Bowen told The Ohio Star that the longer hours provide 14 and 15-year-olds with more opportunity for personal development.

“We very much appreciate Senator Schaffer reintroducing the bill. The skills that youth get from being a part of the workforce are invaluable and will serve them well for the rest of their life. So much of a young person’s time in today’s world is spent in front of a screen. Employment opportunities, especially in sectors like food service where young people learn the incredibly important skill of customer service and interaction with the public will benefit them in their schooling and in their future career,” Bowen told The Star.

Ohio would join more than a dozen other states, including Michigan, in expanding the hours if the bill were to pass. States like Kansas, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming permit teenagers to work until 10:00pm the night before a school day. Nebraska seems to go the furthest, allowing children under 14 to work until 8 p.m. on school nights and allowing 14 and 15-year-olds to work until 10 p.m.

This version of the bill is currently under review in the Workforce and Higher Education committee.

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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “State Sen Tim Schaffer” by The Ohio Senate and “New Job for Teen” by State Farm CC2.0.


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One Thought to “Ohio Lawmaker Reintroduces Bill Extending Working Hours for Teenagers”

  1. Crayon eater the third

    Darn peasants have been getting uppity lately what to do what to do. Urika! I got an idea! Yes! Child slave labor! this will solve everything! That will teach ’em.

    That’s a terrible idea. Tell Tim Schaffer to eat a salad and get his head out of his morbidity obese rear end.