Young People In New York State Will Receive Youth Workers Bill of Rights Outlining Minimum Wage, Anti-Discrimination, and Other Protections With Working Papers.

Governor Kathy Hochul today unveiled New York’s first-ever Youth Workers Bill of Rights, first announced in her 2024 State of the State address as part of an effort to bolster protections for New York’s youngest workers. Governor Hochul tasked the New York State Department of Labor with developing and distributing the Youth Workers Bill of Rights in partnership with the New York State Education Department and creating a vital resource that details essential rights and protections for every youth worker. The Youth Workers Bill of Rights builds on the Governor’s commitment to addressing last year’s troubling rise in child labor violations and protecting young people in the workplace.

“Every worker in our state deserves a fair, safe work environment, especially our young people,” Governor Hochul said. “My administration is taking action to ensure that our youngest workers feel empowered, protected, and well-informed, and by fulfilling my State of the State commitment to creating our first-ever Youth Workers Bill of Rights, we are continuing to make strides toward making New York the safest and most worker-friendly state in the nation.”

Written in clear and accessible language, the Youth Workers Bill of Rights seeks to educate first time workers as they prepare to enter the labor market by explaining the rights all NY workers enjoy as well as the protections that are specific to workers under 18. The Bill of Rights will be distributed to every young worker upon receiving their working papers. It will be available in various formats, including a print pocket guide available in schools and NYSDOL Career Centers for easy reference a downloadable poster for educators and administrative staff to hang in schools, and online for broad accessibility.

Key protections outlined include the right to:

  • The minimum wage

  • A safe and discrimination-free workplace

  • File a complaint without fear of retaliation

The Youth Workers Bill of Rights is available online at NYSDOL’s new Youth Worker Information Hub. This hub seeks to be an educational resource for young people as they prepare to enter the workforce. The hub includes important information regarding protections for young people including permitted working hours during the school day, how to be sure they are being paid the correct minimum wage, and a full list of prohibited occupations for children under the age of 18.

The Youth Workers Bill of Rights follows the Protect Youth Workers Pledge for businesses, launched in 2023 under direction from Governor Hochul. By taking the pledge, businesses affirm they will always consider the safety and wellbeing of minors, they will report suspected child labor violations to the Child Labor Taskforce, and that they have educated their employees on labor rights and signs of labor trafficking.  

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “Governor Hochul’s directive to NYSDOL to create and distribute the Youth Workers Bill of Rights underscores her unwavering commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of New York State’s youth workforce. This comprehensive document educates young people about their rights in the workplace and equips them with the knowledge and tools to address violations of their labor rights effectively. By outlining clear guidelines and standards, the Youth Workers Bill of Rights aims to empower young workers and raise awareness about their rights as valuable members of the workforce.”

New York State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said, “The Youth Worker Bill of Rights gives young New Yorkers vital information about their rights as employees. Knowledge is power; so, knowing your rights and how to enforce them will benefit working students throughout the State. I commend Governor Hochul and our Department of Labor colleagues for their ongoing initiatives to guarantee the welfare of New York’s young and future generations.”

Protecting Youth Workers in New York State

In 2023, Governor Hochul announced a series of measures to combat a rise in child labor violations and labor trafficking after a disturbing 68 percent spike in reports of child labor violations in 2022. The measures included the creation of an interagency Child Labor Task Force, the launch of an Employer Pledge program for employers committed to educating their employees on labor rights, and the creation of a new Labor Trafficking Response Unit at NYSDOL to support and protect victims of labor trafficking.

Since 2023, NYSDOL’s Labor Standards team has conducted more than 300 targeted inspections at businesses employing youth workers. The inspections were conducted primarily at food service, retail, and seasonal businesses, uncovering numerous violations related to employment certificates, prohibited hours, and posting of hours. The Labor Standards team collaborates with these businesses to ensure compliance and distributes educational materials developed in conjunction with Child Labor Task Force, which remains dedicated to ongoing education and enforcement to combat child labor statewide.

With the summer months approaching, young people are filling out applications and obtaining their working papers to start summer jobs. Increased public awareness about youth worker rights and protections helps keep the state’s newest workers safe. As New York continues to lead in promoting labor rights, the Youth Workers Bill of Rights stands as a testament to the state’s dedication to creating a safe, inclusive, and fair work environment for all. To learn more about the Youth Workers Bill of Rights and related initiatives, visit NYSDOL’s website.


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