Since taking office, Gov. LePage has made national news in his work to try to undermine Maine’s child labor laws. This is the same Governor who thinks twelve-year olds should be working, and who tried to roll back the minimum wage for students, as well as open the door to them working longer and longer hours. Thankfully, parents, teachers and advocates have (thus far) thwarted his efforts.
But, he’s at it again. This time, he’s attempting to undermine laws that date back to the mid-1800s when child labor laws were first developed.
A key piece of child labor laws is that superintendents must sign off on work permits for school-age minors who are offered employment. The reason for this is simple - the superintendent can review the scholastic aptitude of the student to ensure the job will not interfere with their studies.
LePage is proposing to remove that provision for the summer months. Now, that may sound simple, but some students attend summer school to either get ahead, or even catch up on their education. Further, this is just a slippery slope toward removing the superintendent from the process altogether, meaning educators will have no ability to reign in jobs that are interfering with a student’s long-term scholastic achievement.
It's time LePage stops trying to undermine child labor laws once and for all!