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Iowa Signs Bill to Loosen Child Labor Laws

26 Jun

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Update Applicable to:

All employers operating in the state of Iowa

What happened?

On May 26, Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill that loosens child labor laws by extending the hours that teens can work and the establishments where they can be employed.

What are the details?

Under the newly signed law, 14- and 15-year-olds are allowed to work two additional hours per day when school is in session, from four to six hours. They are also able to work until 9 p.m. during most of the year and until 11 p.m. from June 1 to Labor Day, two hours later than previously allowed. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds are now permitted to work the same hours as an adult.

The law also allows teens as young as 16 to serve alcohol in restaurants during the hours food is being served if their employer has written permission from their parent or guardian. It also requires that two adults be present while the teen serves alcohol and for the teen to complete “training on prevention and response to sexual harassment.” Children as young as 16 can now also work in areas including manufacturing, with an exemption from the Iowa department of education or Iowa workforce development if it is part of a work-based learning program.

Among the expanded employment opportunities outlined under the new law, 14- and 15-year-olds would be able to do certain types of work in industrial laundry services and in freezers and meat coolers – areas that were previously prohibited.

For more information, please see the links below:

Press Release

Bill (SF 542)

Official Bill Page

Article 1, Article 2, Article 3

Chapter 92 (which will be amended by the bill)

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the bill as well as consult with their employment attorney to ensure compliance with the new law.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

Learn more about how Vensure's Iowa PEO services can help you navigate complex employment laws and keep your business compliant.


This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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