Bill S2087-2013

Authorizes minors who are members of a religious community to engage or assist in employment which minors are otherwise prohibited from performing

Authorizes minors who are 14 or older and are active members of a religious community to engage or assist in employment which such minors are otherwise prohibited from performing; requires such minors to be supervised by an adult member of such religious community.

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  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO LABOR
  • Jan 10, 2013: REFERRED TO LABOR

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S2087

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the labor law, in relation to authorizing minors fourteen years of age or older, working as part of a religious community of which they are a member, to be employed in or assist in certain activities

PURPOSE: The purpose of this legislation is to provide a religious exemption to current labor laws to allow minors from the age of 14 to 17 years old who are members of a religious community such as the Old Order Amish, to engage in certain work activities within the religious community when under adult supervision.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section one adds a new subdivision 7 to section 131 and a new subdivision 6 to section 132 of the labor law to allow minors fourteen to fifteen years old who are members of a religious community to be exempt from current law that prohibits minors from working with and around heavy machinery.

Section 3 adds a new paragraph c to section 133 of the labor law to provide that exempted minors shall at all times be under the supervision of an adult who is an active member of the same religious community when working with and around heavy machinery.

JUSTIFICATION: Religious groups such as the Old Order Amish have been established as peaceful communities in New York state for generations. They are constitutionally guaranteed the right to practice their faith without interference by government. The Amish have been able to maintain their traditions, beliefs and practices without dispute ox controversy in New York and have long been contributing members and an asset to their local communities.

The Amish are taught to work at an early age and axe trained for the family business at the end of the eighth grade. They are mentored during this work while engaged in activities such as woodworking, saw-milling and other work with heavy machinery.

As currently enforced, NYS child labor laws prohibit the Amish from training their children in the very areas of employment that their livelihood has depended on for decades. Without the exemption provided in this bill, the whole Amish way of life is in danger of being altered. Further, the values of work and responsibility taught to each generation, which are an integral part of the Amish existence, may be destroyed without the religious protection provided in this bill.

New York State has a responsibility to ensure religious freedom but also to ensure that minors are protected at all times, so this bill would require adult supervision of minors in the Amish community when working with such heavy machinery.

The Federal Government passed a similar religious exemption for the Amish, under the Clinton administration in 1998. That legislation allowed individual states such as New York to enact religious

exemptions to their state labor laws, This bill would help to Protect the constitutional freedom of this religious community by providing a similar religious exemption in state labor law to federal labor law, while ensuring safety of minors through their direct supervision.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011,2012: S.767/A.6082 Passed Senate 2009,2010: S.2266/A.2252 Referred to Labor 2007,2008: S.3552/A.6929 Passed Senate

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2087 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 10, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. YOUNG -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Labor AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to authorizing minors four- teen years of age or older, working as part of a religious community of which they are a member, to be employed in or assist in certain activities THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 131 of the labor law is amended by adding a new subdivision 7 to read as follows: 7. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE DEEMED TO PROHIBIT THE EMPLOYMENT OF OR ASSISTANCE IN EMPLOYMENT BY A MINOR FOURTEEN OR FIFTEEN YEARS OF AGE WHO IS THE MEMBER OF A RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH C OF SUBDIVISION THREE OF SECTION ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-THREE OF THIS ARTI- CLE. S 2. Section 132 of the labor law is amended by adding a new subdivi- sion 6 to read as follows: 6. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE DEEMED TO PROHIBIT THE EMPLOYMENT OF OR ASSISTANCE IN EMPLOYMENT BY A MINOR SIXTEEN OR SEVENTEEN YEARS OF AGE WHO IS THE MEMBER OF A RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH C OF SUBDIVISION THREE OF SECTION ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-THREE OF THIS ARTI- CLE. S 3. Subdivision 3 of section 133 of the labor law is amended by adding a new paragraph c to read as follows: C. THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO ANY MINOR FOURTEEN YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER, WHEN SUCH MINOR IS EMPLOYED BY OR ASSISTS IN THE EMPLOYMENT OF A RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY, OF WHICH SUCH MINOR IS AN ACTIVE MEMBER; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT AT ALL TIMES WHILE SUCH A MINOR IS ENGAGED OR ASSISTING IN OTHERWISE PROHIBITED EMPLOYMENT, HE OR SHE SHALL BE UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF A PERSON EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER WHO IS AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF THE SAME RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY AS
THE SUPERVISED MINOR. AN AFFIDAVIT SIGNED BY THE PARENT, PARENTS OR GUARDIAN OF SUCH A MINOR, STATING THAT SUCH PARENT, PARENTS OR GUARDIAN HOLD THE GENUINE AND SINCERE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OF THE RELIGIOUS COMMUNI- TY AND THAT THE MINOR IS AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF SUCH RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY SHALL CONSTITUTE PROOF THAT SUCH MINOR MAY BE SO EMPLOYED OR ASSIST IN SUCH EMPLOYMENT. THE PARENT, PARENTS OR GUARDIAN SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO SPECIFY OR ELABORATE ON THE NATURE, GENUINENESS OR SINCERITY OF THE RELIGIOUS BELIEF OR BE SUBJECT TO ANY FURTHER INQUIRY. S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.

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