Senate File 167 Changes Iowa’s Child Labor Laws


Jersey Bilyeu

HyVee employs numerous Kennedy students as an entry level position.

Senate File 167 is a new bill proposed in the Iowa Legislature that allows teens to work longer hours and new types of jobs. Proposed by Republican Senator Jason Schultz, this bill will change the way Iowa youth’s workforce advances in the future.  

One change this bill introduces is the hours that 14 to 17-year-olds can work. Before this proposed bill children under 16 had to clock out of work at 7 p.m. This bill proposes the idea that children under 16 can work until 9 p.m. during the school year and 11 p.m. in the summer. 

This bill will help employers to lessen the labor shortage. After the pandemic, many chain companies have struggled to hire and retain adult employees. Teens being able to work longer would help solve the labor shortage problem. 

Todd Aimsworth is the General Manager at the 1201 Burger King. This Burger King employs six people under the age of 18 and two under the age of 16. 

“I personally don’t have a problem with the hours limit that the state has for 14 to 15-year-olds. It just sucks when I know my 14 to 15-year-old employees want more hours during the week and I can’t give that to them,” said Aimsworth.

Though these changes to the bill seem positive the bill does propose a change that can be concerning. Senate File 167 removes the prohibition of 14 to 15-year-olds working in freezers and meat coolers. The bill further proposes that teens can work in jobs like manufacturing, mining, and food processing. Minors can take a training program to work these jobs.

The caveat to this bill is companies won’t be liable for any worker injuries, illnesses or death while on the job. This also means that there will be no worker’s compensation. 

Marilyn Adams is a family farm owner. Adams lost her son while he was working on the farm during harvest season. In response, Adams contributed to the beginning of Farmers Safety 4 Kids to help adults be more responsible farm parents. 

“No one could tell me that a child’s death was a cost of doing business,” said Adams to the Iowa Capitol Dispatch.

As of March 1, this bill has gone through the first legislative deadline and now is moving onto the amendment stage.