State Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, wants the Missouri Legislature to get rid of work permit requirements for children. His legislation repeals various provisions relating to youth work certificates, including preventing an employer from requiring a certificate from someone under 18 as a condition of employment.

He told Missourinet it’s all about removing government red tape.

“What we have a problem is, the school districts actually have to issue a permit in order for kids to work between the ages of 14, 15, and 16,” he said.”The problem that I see is that, honestly, I don’t think anybody’s currently really following the law today, and so obviously, it should be, you know, a parental issue. You shouldn’t have to go to the superintendent if you want your child to work outside of school hours.”

A compromise was reached on his bill in that parents or guardians would be required to fill out a form before a child can work.

Koenig clarifies that he doesn’t want those parental rights overtaken by businesses. He also states that employment does not, and should not, take precedent over school.

“Now one compromise we were working on was requiring a form to be filled out that the parent would have to sign before a child could actually work at a facility. So that was kind of like an amendment or a change to the bill that we’re working just to make sure that those parental rights are not being, you know, overtaken by some business. Kids working ages 15, 16 is a very good thing. It gets them ready for the real life, gets them used to working with money, and I think that’s important,” Koenig added. “So that way they can learn how to save, learn how to manage their money while they’re still underneath their parents’ house. We want to encourage work, we wanna make it easy for work to be done.”

Under his proposal, employers would be required to get signed permission slips from a parent or guardian in certain work conditions if a child between 14 and 16 is to be employed.

In the waning weeks of the legislative session, it could be added onto another bill further along in the legislative process.

Click here for more information on Senate Bill 175.

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