Indiana lawmakers pass new minor employment bill

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A bill that would make it easier in some ways to hire Hoosiers under the age of 18 is heading to the governor’s desk.

If signed by Governor Eric Holcomb, small businesses such as Sophia’s Prom Store say they would really benefit. 

“For us, it makes a lot of sense to bring girls who are under 18 because they’re very relatable to that customer,” said Sophia’s General Manager Alyssa Wray.

Right now, Indiana law has restrictions for minor workers.

“The amount of hours that they are able to work and certain days of the week and stuff like that. We have to make sure that they are off by certain times so, that’s the only thing that gets a little tricky,” said Wray.

State lawmakers are working to make things easier. For example, part of the bill increases the number of hours 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds can work. It’s 30 hours right now. Under this law, it would be 40. 

“For us, it would be amazing because we have a lot of high school seniors that we hire that really only do half days at school,” said Wray. “So, for them to be able to come in and work a 40 hour week if they wanted to it would be like top-notch amazing.”

And with parental permission, they can even work later hours. 

“There were some things in there that I like, I do recognize that we probably should help tighten up some of the laws in our state to help some of our young folks you know, get employment,” said State Sen. J.D. Ford of Indianapolis.

However, a recent provision getting rid of required restroom breaks in this bill has him taking his name off the legislation. 

“I don’t want to do anything that’s detrimental to those minors,” said Ford.

Small businesses like Sophia’s Prom Store say they’re likely to give breaks without the law requiring them. 

“Especially for a lot of our girls, this is their first job. So, it can be very overwhelming when they are coming in and working like a full shift and not getting any kind of break or anything,” said Wray. “So yea, for us I think that’s the biggest reason, easing them in a little bit.”

She said she would love to see this signed into law not just for her store but for others in Indiana too. 

“I think for a small business especially, it’s fantastic to be able to open that up so we can have our target customer work with that target employee,” said Wray. “So, yeah, it would be great!”

There is no word yet on whether the Governor plans to sign this legislation into law. We will continue following this story.

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