Johnson Introduces TEENS Act to Increase Youth Workforce Participation

Press Release

Date: Sept. 15, 2022
Location: Washington, DC

Today, U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) introduced the Teenagers Earning Everyday Necessary Skills (TEENS) Act, which loosens federal work hour limitations on 14- and 15-year-olds. Currently, teenagers are not permitted to work past 7p.m. during months when school is in session and are limited to 18 hours of work per week.

According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 60% of American teens had summer jobs in the 1980s and 90s. In recent years, that number is closer to 30%.

"If a high school student can play in a football game until 9p.m., or play video games late into the evening, they should also be allowed to hold a job if they wish to," said Johnson. "The TEENS Act provides a reasonable accommodation for hardworking young Americans. As our nation faces an unprecedented labor shortage, flexibility is needed more than ever."

Currently, 14- and 15-year-olds are limited to working 18 hours per week -- less than two and a half traditional 8-hour shifts -- and may not work past 7p.m. during the school year. The TEENS Act would permit 14- and 15-year-olds to work between the hours of 7a.m. and 9p.m. year-round and increases the number of workable hours during a school week to 24.

"As the father of a teenager, I've seen firsthand how work experiences build confidence, develop new skills, instill responsibility, and create a sense of pride in a job well done," said Nathan Sanderson, Executive Director of the South Dakota Retailers Association. "Many mom-and-pop entrepreneurs across South Dakota started their own businesses because of jobs they held as teenagers, and we appreciate Rep. Johnson's efforts to create even more great opportunities for young people."

"The National Fireworks Association, an organization comprised of over 1000 members, believes that hard work, and the results from it, are what Americans believe in and what makes this country great," said the Board of theNational Fireworks Association."Congressman Johnson's TEENS Act is something that is grounded in the values we believe in."

The TEENS Act is endorsed by the South Dakota Retailers Association, the National Restaurant Association, and the National Fireworks Association.