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January 26, 2006 David Dearborn, Governor’s Office
Nancy Steffens, Department of Labor,

Governor Rell Proposing Legislation
To Strengthen Child Labor Laws
Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that she will introduce legislation to put ‘real
teeth’ into the state’s child labor laws, imposing criminal fines of up to $5,000 and five-year jail
terms and doubling civil penalties for employers who violate workplace laws that protect minors.

“Connecticut has a long history of statutes protecting minors in employment, but we have
found that these laws must carry tougher penalties to deter violations,” Governor Rell said. “My
legislative proposal is intended to put employers on notice that child labor laws need to be taken
very seriously.

“There is no problem with the vast majority of Connecticut employers,” the Governor
said. “But employers who intentionally or unwittingly violate the statutes should be on notice.
We cannot afford, for example, to have a young employee seriously injured or killed because
employers aren’t paying attention to standards on hazardous duty. Now is the time to put real
teeth in the form of deterrents and genuine penalties so that tragedies may be avoided.”
Governor Rell’s proposal would criminalize child labor law violations by imposing fines
of between $2,000 and $5,000 and/or up to five years’ imprisonment for each offense. Existing
civil penalties would double from $300 to $600 per violation.
The state Department of Labor would continue to assess civil penalties for violations that
may include wage or hour issues. With new statutory penalties proposed by the Governor, the
department would be able to refer more serious violations to prosecutors for possible criminal
Child labor laws protect minors (under age 18) from dangerous work, spell out what type
of work can be done, and specify the hours they can be on the job.


TEL: (860) 566-4840, FAX: (860) 524-7396
Governor Rell’s legislative proposal, an Act Concerning Protection of Minors in the
Workplace, will be introduced when the General Assembly convenes in February. The measure
stems in part from violations found last year at three Wal-Mart stores in Connecticut. Governor
Rell asked Labor Commissioner Shaun Cashman to recommend steps for tougher enforcement of
the statutes after Labor Department inspectors found 11 violations at Wal-Marts in Hartford,
Norwalk and Putnam. The most serious situations occurred at the Putnam store, where three
violations of minors using hazardous equipment were found.

At the time, Governor Rell noted that a fine of just $3,300 for serious violations is not a
deterrent for a major corporation.

“The safety of our children is paramount, and ensuring that businesses know and fully
understand labor laws is on ongoing mission,” the Governor said today. “If we combine tougher
legislation with pro-active educational strategies our Labor Department has in place, I know we
can do even better in keeping our youth safe in the workplace. We have an obligation to protect
all workers, especially those who are just entering employment.”

The Department of Labor’s educational strategies include developing materials for
schools and employers, providing informational workshops and business seminars, and working
closely with the agency’s workforce partners.

Information for employers is available on-line at Businesses can also contact the Department
of Labor’s Wage and Workplace Standards Division at 860-263-6791 for guidance.

“This dual approach – education and stronger penalties for violations -- will go a long
way toward ensuring the safety and well-being of Connecticut’s young workers,” the Governor