Acts of the Legislature of West Virginia
AN ACT to prohibit and regulate the employment of minors.
[Passed February 11, 1919. In effect ninety days from passage. Approved by the
Governor February 13, 1919.]
Regular Session 1919
(House Bill No. 78.)
AN ACT to prohibit and regulate the employment of minors.
[Passed February 11, 1919. In effect ninety days from passage. Approved by the Governor February 13, 1919.]
SEC. 1. Prohibiting employment of children under 14 years of age; exceptions made; boys of 12 years or hours; special work permit from school authorities necessary; unlawful to permit child under 14 years to work during school hours.
2. Regulating employment of children under 16 years of age in place of danger to life, limb, health or morals; who shall determine such occupations and dangers; right of appeal to supreme court of appeads [sic] from any determination.
3. Persons, firm or corporation required to keep on file a work permit for all children employed, between ages of 14 and 16 years; permit to be accessible to officers charged with enforcement of this act; proof necessary to issuance of permit to work by school superintendents or other officials; vacation work permit to children of 14 years or over.
4. What work permits shall set forth; printed forms for permits; who prepared by; where filed; commissioner of labor may revoke permit; hearing of evidence in revocation; notification of revocation.
5. Age certificate filed in office of employer shall be accepted by officer as evidence of age of child; officer may inquire into true age of child for whom no permit is filed; if under 16 years, presence of such child in such establishment a violation of law; issuance of work permits and age certificates under supervision of state superintendent of free schools.
6. Days and hours in week and hours in day which children may be permitted to work; posted notice of same on premises required; longer hours than stated on notices a violation of law.
7. Officers and agents charged with enforcement of this act.
8. Violations of this act and penalties.
9. Acts or parts of acts inconsistent with this act repealed.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
Section 1. That no child under fourteen years of age shall be employed, permitted or suffered to work in, about, or in connection with any gainful occupation except agriculture or domestic service; provided that boys twelve years of age or over may be employed in mercantile establishments and business offices outside of school hours provided that they obtain a special work permit from the school authorities as hereinafter provided.
That it shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to employ, permit, or suffer any child under fourteen years of age to work in any business or service whatever during any of the hours when the public schools of the school district in which the child resides are in session.
Sec. 2. That no child under the age of sixteen years shall be employed, permitted, or suffered to work in any occupation dangerous to the life or limb, or injurious to the health or morals of such child. The state commissioner of labor, the state commissioner of health, or the state superintendent of free schools may from time to time, after hearing duly had, determine whether or not any particular trade, process of manufacture, or occupation in which the employment of children under the age of sixteen years is not already forbidden by law, or any particular method of carrying on such trade, process of manufacture, or occupation, is sufficiently dangerous to the lives or limbs or injurious to the health or morals of children under sixteen years of age to justify their exclusion therefrom. No child under sixteen years of age shall be employed, permitted or suffered to work in occupation thus determined to be dangerous or injurious to such children. There shall be a right of appeal to the supreme court of appeals from any such determination.
No child under the age of sixteen years shall be employed, permitted, or suffered to work in any mine, quarry, tunnel or excavation. No child under the age of sixteen years shall be apprenticed, given away, let out, or otherwise disposed of to any person or company to engage in the occupation or service of rope or wire walker, gymnast, contortionist, circus rider, acrobat or clown, nor in any indecent, obscene or immoral exhibition or practice; and it shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation, to take, receive or employ such child for any of the purposes or occupations mentioned in this paragraph.
Sec. 3. That no child between the ages of fourteen and sixteen years shall be employed, permitted, or suffered to work in any gainful occupation, unless the person, firm or corporation by whom such child is employed, permitted, or suffered to work, obtains and keeps on file and accessible to officers charged with the enforcement of this act, a work permit issued by the superintendent of schools of the city or county in which such child resides, or person authorized by him in writing. The superintendent of schools or person authorized by him in writing shall issue such work permit only upon receipt of the following documents:
A written statement signed by the person, for whom the child expects to work, that he intends legally to employ such child and agrees to return the work permit to the issuing officer within two days of the termination of such child's employment.
(a) A birth certificate or attested transcript thereof issued by a registrar of vital statistics or other officer charged with the duty of recording births.
(b) Or a record of baptism or a certificate or attested transcript thereof showing the date of birth and place of baptism of the child.
(c) Or a bona fide contemporary record of the date and place of the child's birth kept in the Bible in which the records of the births of the family of the child are preserved, or other documentary evidence approved by the state commissioner of labor, such as a passport showing the age of the child, a certificate of arrival in the United States issued by the United States immigration officers and showing the age of the child, or a life insurance policy; provided, that such other satisfactory documentary evidence has been in existence at least one year prior to the time it is offered in evidence; and provided, further, that a school record or parent's, guardian's or custodian's affidavit, certificate, or other written statement of age alone shall not be accepted.
(d) A certificate signed by the public health physician or a public school physician specifying what in the opinion of such physician is the physical age of the child; such certificate shall show the height and weight of the child and other facts concerning its physical development revealed by examination and upon which the opinion of the physician as to the physical age of the child is based. In determining such physical age the physician shall require that the school record or the school census record showing the child's age be submitted as supplementary evidence. The issuing officer shall require first the proof specified in sub-division (a) and shall not accept the proof designated in any subsequent sub-division until he shall have been convinced that the proof specified in the preceding sub-division cannot be obtained.
A certificate signed by the principal of the school last attended showing that the child can read and write correctly simple sentences in the English language and that he has satisfactorily completed the studies covered in the first six yearly grades of the elementary public schools, or their equivalent; in case such certificate cannot be obtained, then the officer issuing the work permit shall examine such child to determine whether he can meet the educational standard specified and shall file in his office a statement setting forth the result of such examination.
A certificate signed by a medical inspector of schools or public health officer stating that the child has been examined by him and in his opinion has reached the normal development of a child of its age, and is in sound health and physically able to be employed in the occupation in which the child intends to engage.
Provided, that the superintendent of schools, or person authorized by him in writing shall have authority and is hereby empowered to issue a vacation work permit to children fourteen years of age or over without requiring a statement that the child has completed the sixth grade of the elementary course of study, or its equivalent, as hereinbefore provided. Such vacation work permit shall be different in form and color from the regular work permit and shall be valid only during the time when the public schools of the district in which the child resides are not in session. Every vacation work permit shall be null and void on the day the public schools open for regular session. Provided, further, that the superintendent of schools or person authorized by him in writing, shall have authority and is hereby empowered to issue a special work permit to any boy twelve years of age or over to work in business offices and mercantile establishments outside of school hours without requiring a statement that he has completed any school grade whatsoever.
Sec. 4. That the work permit mentioned in the foregoing section shall set forth the full name, the date and place of birth of the child with the name and address of his parent, guardian, or custodian and shall certify that the child has appeared before the officer issuing the permit and submitted the proofs of age, physical fitness, schooling and prospective employment required in the foregoing section. Printed forms for these permits and certificates shall be prepared and furnished by the state commissioner of labor to the superintendent of schools in the cities and counties of the state. A copy of each permit issued shall be forwarded to the state commissioner of labor within four days of its issuance and there shall be kept in the office of the issuing officer a record of all permits granted and of all applications denied as well as all certificates of age, schooling, physical fitness and prospective employment submitted by the applicants for permits. The state commissioner of labor may at any time revoke a permit if in his judgment it was improperly issued and for this purpose he is authorized to investigate into the true age of any child employed to hear evidence and to require the production of relevant books or documents; if the permit be revoked the issuing officer and the person employing the child at the time shall be notified of such action, and the child shall not thereafter be employed or permitted to labor until a new permit has been legally obtained.
Sec. 5. That upon the request of any employer who is desirous of employing a child who represents his or her age to be sixteen years or over, the local officer charged with the issuance of work permits shall require of such child the proof of age specified in section three of this act and upon receipt thereof if it be found that the child is actually sixteen years of age or over, shall issue to such employer a certificate showing the age and date and place of birth of such child. Such age certificate when filed in the office of the employer shall be accepted by the officer charged with the enforcement of this act as evidence of the age of the child in whose name it was issued. Any officer charged with the enforcement of this act may inquire into the true age of a child apparently under the age of sixteen years who is employed, permitted or suffered to work in any gainful occupation and for whom no work permit or age certificate is on file and if the age of such child be found to be actually under sixteen years the presence of such child in such establishment shall be deemed a violation of the provisions of this act. The state commissioner of labor may at any time revoke any such age certificate if in his judgment it was improperly issued and for this purpose he is authorized to investigate into the true age of any child employed as in the case of work permits. The issuance of work permits and of age certificates shall be under the supervision of the state superintendent of free schools, who shall seek at all times to standardize this work.
Sec. 6. That no child under the age of sixteen years shall be employed, permitted or suffered to work in, about or in connection with any gainful occupation except agriculture or domestic service for more than six days in any one week, nor more than forty-eight hours in any week, nor more than eight hours in any one day; nor before the hour of six o'clock in the morning, nor after the hour of seven o'clock in the evening of any day. Every employer shall post and keep posted in a conspicuous place in every room where any child between the ages of fourteen and sixteen years is employed, permitted or suffered to work, a printed notice setting forth the maximum number of hours such person may be required or permitted to work each day of the week, the hours beginning and ending work each day and the time allowed for meals; the printed form of such notice shall be furnished by the state commissioner of labor and the employment of such child for a longer time in any day than so stated or at any time other than as stated in said printed notice, shall be deemed a violation of the provisions of this section.
Sec. 7. That it shall be the duty of the state commissioner of labor; his assistants, factory inspectors, school truancy officers and accredited agent of the humane society, to enforce the provisions of this act; provided, however, that the provisions relating to the employment of children in mines shall be enforced by the state department of mines, said department to make complaint against any person, firm or corporation, violating any of the provisions of this act, and to prosecute the same before anv magistrate or court of competent jurisdiction.
Sec. 8. That any person or agent or representative of any firm or corporation, who violates any of the provisions of this act, or any parent, guardian, or custodian of any child who permits or suffers such child to work in violation of any of the provisions of this act, or any superintendent of county or city schools who illegally issues a work permit to a child, or any person who furnishes false evidence in reference to the age or birthplace or educational qualications [sic] of a child, shall for a first offense be punished by a fine of not less than twenty dollars or more than fifty dollars; for a second offense by a fine of not less than fifty dollars or more than two hundred dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days or by both such fine or imprisonment; for a third or subsequent offense by a fine of not less than two hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than sixty days or by both such fine and imprisonment.
Sec. 9. That sections twenty-four (insofar as it relates to the employment of children) twenty-five, seventy-one, seventy-two, seventy-three, and seventy-four, chapter fifteen-h and section sixteen-d (two) chapter one hundred and forty-four, code one thousand nine hundred and sixteen, and all acts or part of acts inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.