Obama’s Department of Labor Reverses Course, Drops Idea of Banning Chores on Farms

The seal of the United States Department of Labor

On Wednesday we published a story about the Obama administration’s new proposal that would make it much tougher for kids to work on family farms. It appears the outrage made its way straight to the top and the DOL is quickly reversing course.

Under pressure from farming advocates in rural communities, and following a report by The Daily Caller, the Obama administration withdrew a proposed rule Thursday that would have applied child labor laws to family farms.

Critics complained that the regulation would have drastically changed the extent to which children could work on farms owned by family members. The U.S. Department of Labor cited public outcry as the reason for withdrawing the rule.

“The decision to withdraw this rule — including provisions to define the ‘parental exemption’ — was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms,” the Department said in a press release Thursday evening. “To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration.”

The concern now, of course, is that Obama’s DOL will just craft new language and package it a different way. All the more reason to pay very close attention to every move they make going forward.

-Eric Odom