The Department of Labor (DOL) and the Interagency Task Force to Combat Child Labor Exploitation announced recent actions to hold companies accountable for violating federal child labor laws.

For example, DOL said its Wage and Hour Division has significantly enhanced child labor enforcement efforts. Between October 1, 2022, and July 20, 2023, as a result of stepped-up enforcement, the agency concluded 765 child labor cases finding 4,474 children employed in violation of federal child labor laws. The agency assessed employers more than $6.6 million in penalties. DOL said these cases “reflect a 44 percent increase in children found employed in violation of federal law and an 87 percent increase in penalties assessed from the same time period in the previous fiscal year. In addition, the agency is currently pursuing more than 700 open child labor cases.”

DOL also recently announced findings that three businesses operating 62 McDonald’s locations across Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, and Ohio had employed 305 children to work more than the legally permitted hours and perform tasks prohibited by law for young workers. In all, DOL said, the investigations led to assessments of $212,544 in civil money penalties against the employers. DOL also announced child labor violations affecting 83 minors at 16 McDonald’s franchise locations in Louisiana and Texas. For example, the division determined one franchisee allowed three children to operate manual deep fryers, a task prohibited for employees under age 16. DOL assessed more than $77,500 in civil money penalties to two McDonald’s franchisees for violations.

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