Hy-Vee food stores will pay a 200-thousand dollar fine for violations of some labor regulations. The U-S Labor Department has a program titled “Safe Work — Safe Kids” to ensure that young teens who may be at their first job are safeguarded. Special rules apply to them, like staying away from power equipment, kitchens and walk-in freezers. Workers who are fourteen or fifteen can’t be on the job after nine p.m., or seven on a school night. Hy-Vee’s Ruth Mitchell says the company intends to keep giving plenty of young teens their first chance at a job, and to ensure they’re safe, has already started drawing up stricter rules of its own to limit their hours and the hazards that could come with the job. The rules in question affect employees who are in their young teens. The U-S Labor Department’s Norma Conrad points out the chain wasn’t targeted, the grocery-store industry was the aim of the routine investigation, and Hy-Vee was among the stores checked. Conrad says the Fair Labor Standards Act spells out how long kids can work, and what they can do.The young teens can’t work after seven p.m. on a school night, nine on a summer evening. They might get forty hours a week, but when school’s in session the rules will limit them to about three hours a day. They also can’t work in some areas, like the walk-in freezer.One violation noted was teenage workers throwing boxes into a baling machine. Though they weren’t operating the machine, Hy-Vee says it will add a sign telling the young employees they can’t work around it, either.
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