INDUSTRY RALLIES AGAINST TEEN LABOR BILL

WASHINGTON (FNS) -- The grocery industry is opposing a bill introduced by Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., that would restrict the weekly hours and time of day teen-agers can work during the school year.Under the proposed measure:Fourteen- and 15-year-olds would be restricted to working three hours a day, a maximum of 15 hours a week, and could only work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Teens these ages are currently

WASHINGTON (FNS) -- The grocery industry is opposing a bill introduced by Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., that would restrict the weekly hours and time of day teen-agers can work during the school year.

Under the proposed measure:

Fourteen- and 15-year-olds would be restricted to working three hours a day, a maximum of 15 hours a week, and could only work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Teens these ages are currently permitted to work 20 hours a week.

Sixteen- and 17-year-olds, or 18-year-olds who are full-time high school students, could work up to four hours a day and up to 20 hours weekly. There currently are no limits on the hours teens this age can work weekly. They also could work only from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

States would have to issue certificates of employment to minors requiring permission from parents or guardians and notifications to local schools.

The bill also would toughen penalties against employers who violate the new standards.

"Supermarkets have provided excellent opportunities for teen-agers to gain employment provisions," said Tom Wenning, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Grocers Association, Reston, Va. "The current law is beneficial to teen-age employment."

Wenning also noted that any conflict between teen-agers working hours and their schooling is usually resolved by their parents. He added that the industry was not too concerned with the measure advancing in the Republican-controlled Congress this year.

George Green, vice president and assistant general counsel for the Food Marketing Institute, Washington, called the plan "troubling," and said, "It seems to be aimed at reducing employment of teen-agers."

He agreed with Wenning that it was similar to past legislation that did not advance, and added, "We'll watch it carefully."