Governor Signs Marklein and Novak Bill for Children Working at Family-Owned Businesses
Law initiated by Curtis and Vicki Eberle, owners of the Mixing Bowl Bakery in Sauk City
MADISON – Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Rep. Todd Novak (Dodgeville) joined Governor Scott Walker on today as he signed Senate Bill (SB) 420 to become Act 168.
This law allows a minor to be employed without a child labor permit if they are working at a business owned by their parents, guardians or grandparents. Current child work permit exemptions already exist for: agricultural work; domestic employment, work in or around a private home (such as babysitting or yard work), volunteer work for a non-profit agency and work through the Youth Apprenticeship Program.
Similarly, Federal law also exempts children of any age from child labor minimum age requirements if they are employed in a family business, with some exceptions for hazardous occupations.
“Some of the best lessons a child can learn take place when they are working alongside their parents. Farm-kids are some of the hardest workers with the best work ethic. I learned many skills on our family farm: responsibility, problem solving, etc.,” Marklein said. “A family-business should be treated the same as a family farm.”
“The need for this legislation was brought to me by the Eberle family, who own a local bakery, the Mixing Bowl Bakery in Sauk City. A neighboring business owner filed a complaint with the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) that several of their children were working in the bakery – clearing dishes, washing tables, making change and other small tasks,” Marklein said. “Curtis and Vicki Eberle were investigated and told that their children could not work at the bakery without a work permit. Since most of them are fairly young, up until recently, they did not qualify for a work permit. Thus, none of the Eberle’s children were allowed to help at the bakery for many months.”
“Parents are our kids’ first and best teachers,” Novak said. “I am proud of our work to allow business owners to teach their own children the family business. This is good, common sense policy.”
Act 168 maintains all other minor employment protections. Current law protects children by prohibiting them to be employed in any place that is dangerous to their health, safety, or welfare or where the employment may be dangerous. There are also additional protections and limitations on what hours minors can work.
Act 168 only eliminates the work permit requirement for minors who work at a family business. This would align Wisconsin statutes similarly to agriculture and federal law.