When: Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 9:00am
Where: Legislative Office Building (behind the State House), at 33 N. State Street in Concord, in room 101
It is already a challenge for teens to find employment, but NH law puts an unfair hurdle in place for non-public school students. The statute is intended to ensure that students under age 16 would not face academic hardships due to employment and the authorizer, the public school principal or district superintendent, affirms or denies the certificate based on the student’s academic history. The current statute, RSA 276-A:5, presents an arbitrary burden for private school and home educated students who seek employment certificates as it requires authorization by school administrators who are not involved in their education.
HB 1301 puts the authority in the hands of parents, as they know how their children are performing academically and what strain, if any, employment would put on their school work. Parents have access to their children’s academic performance information from the schools and are able to monitor it for signs of difficulties. They are also more likely to notice signs of distress before it appears on a report card. Obviously, if the student is homeschooled, the parents are already responsible for directing the child’s education and have an in-depth familiarity with the academic demands and performance.
Apparently many superintendents find it awkward to be authorizers for students they do not know, so why not put the responsibility in the hands of the adults closest to them, their parents.
Note that this bill was combined with HB 1476, another bill relative to youth employment. Both sponsors worked together to author the prevailing amendment as approved by the House. It allows parents to provide notarized employment certificates for their children. Parents must provide 48 hours notice to employers and the Department of Labor when certificates are revoked.
Some may argue that the statute provides some kind of safety net if the child is employed in a dangerous job. The assumption is unreasonable. That duty goes far beyond the scope of any superintendent’s responsibilities and is not the function of the authorization in this statute. The role is to oversee any impact the job has on the student’s academic performance; one that a parent may fulfill. Federal and state safety requirements are well established and are intended to protect all workers with consequences to employers who put their employees in jeopardy. That is not changed by this bill and these concerns go far beyond the scope of this legislation.
Opponents to the bill have claimed that parents may force their minor children into jobs and there would be no third-party adult to safeguard students. That speaks to a total distrust of parents and alleges they would put their children, or at least their academics, deliberately in jeopardy.
Join us when HB 1301 has a public hearing before the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee.
HB 1301 already passed the House on a roll call vote, and is now on to the Senate. It will have a public hearing before the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee on Wednesday, April 20th at 9:00am in the Legislative Office Building (LOB), room 101. The LOB is located immediately behind the State House.
PLEASE COME AND TESTIFY — the public is welcome to attend! Please sign in support of HB 1301 on the sheet at the front of the room; you can also indicate if you wish to speak. If you’re unable to attend, please contact the committee with brief and polite phone calls or emails. Personal stories about how your family has been impacted and how the bill would make improvements can be very persuasive. It is also helpful to mention if you are a constituent.
Suggested talking points:
— Current NH law puts an unfair hurdle in place for all non-public school students seeking employment.
— Current law forces public school superintendents and principals in a role of responsibility for students they do not know.
— This bill would put the responsibility in the hands of adults closest to the students, their parents, who would see evidence of academic distress well before it appears on a report card.
— The bill includes provisions that put legal requirements on the parents, including notarizing the certificate and notification to the employer and Department of Labor should the certificate be revoked.
— The bill does not change any federal or state safety requirements that protect all workers with consequences to employers who put their employees in jeopardy.
Here is the contact information for each member of the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee.
Sharon Carson — District 14, Londonderry
John Reagan — District 17, Deerfield
Sam Cataldo — District 6, Farmington
Donna Soucy — District 18, Manchester
Jeff Woodburn — District 1, Dalton