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Protecting Youth at Work: Health, Safety, and Development of Working Children and Adolescents in the United States
and undoubtedly will continue to do so, the issue is not whether they should work, but what circumstances cause working to be detrimental, what can be done to avoid those circumstances, and how working can be made more beneficial.
The committee's recommendations are guided by the scientific evidence on working and a set of principles. The principles are based on a developmental framework, which recognizes that the needs and abilities of children and adolescents differ from those of adults: The tasks in which children and adolescents engage should be commensurate with their physical, cognitive, emotional, and social abilities. The committee believes that these principles, which represent the judgment and values of the committee, form the basis for ensuring that the work performed by children and adolescents will be safe and healthful.
Guiding Principle 1: Education and development are of primary importance during the formative years of childhood and adolescence. Although work can contribute to these goals, it should never be undertaken in ways that compromise education or development.
Guiding Principle 2: The vulnerable, formative, and malleable nature of childhood and adolescence requires a higher standard of protection for young workers than that accorded to adult workers.
Guiding Principle 3: All businesses assume certain social obligations when they hire employees. Businesses that employ young workers assume a higher level of social obligation, which should be reflected in the expectations of society as well as in explicit public policy.
Guiding Principle 4: Everyone under 18 years of age has the right to be protected from hazardous work, excessive work hours, and unsafe or unhealthy work environments, regardless of the size of the enterprise in which he or she is employed, his or her