Johnson sponsors bill to allow teenagers to work more hours

Due to the nation’s current labor shortage, U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) on Sept. 14 unveiled legislation that would lift federal limitations on the number of hours teenagers may work.

“As our nation faces an unprecedented labor shortage, flexibility is needed more than ever,” Rep. Johnson said.

Specifically, the Teenagers Earning Everyday Necessary Skills (TEENS) Act, H.R. 8826, would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to expand working hours for employees between the ages of 14 and 16 years when schools are in session, according to the text of the bill.

Currently, teenagers are not permitted to work past 7 p.m. during months when school is in session and are limited to 18 hours of work per week, according to the congressman’s office.

If enacted, H.R. 8826 would permit 14- and 15-year-olds to work between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. year-round, and would increase the number of workable hours during a school week to 24, the bill’s text says.

“If a high school student can play in a football game until 9 p.m., or play video games late into the evening, they should also be allowed to hold a job if they wish to,” said Rep. Johnson. “The TEENS Act provides a reasonable accommodation for hardworking young Americans.” 

The South Dakota Retailers Association, the National Fireworks Association, and the National Restaurant Association endorsed the bill, which has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee.