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8.1.23 – KAIT

A new law in Arkansas will now allow children under the age of 16 to have a public job.

As of August 1, ACT 195, the Youth Hiring Act of 2023, is in place and will modify regulations when it comes to when people can enter the workforce. The law allows people younger than 16 to work in the state without needing an employment certificate.

It also removes language that the child would no longer be required to verify proof of their age or get written consent from their parent or guardian as a condition of employment.

Some business owners like Shelly Duty are a little on the fence. Duty is the owner of the Ridge Coffee in Brookland and said it would depend on the applicant.

“I feel like they could handle some of the responsibilities, but then others even at 18 I don’t know if they are ready for some of the responsibilities some of the jobs have,” Duty said.

Duty said she is not sure the age matters, saying it is all about the kid. She said there have been employees before that just struggle.

“Even some that are 20, present themselves as younger and cannot handle the responsibility of even taking an order,” Duty said.

At the Ridge, Duty only hires people over the age of 18 but she had a child who started working at 15 thanks to a waiver and she felt like it was a positive experience.

“I did have one of my children that started at 15 because she had a waiver, but she was only allowed to work certain hours during the day and so many hours during the week,” Duty said.

The law went into effect on Aug. 1, 2023