Wisconsin’s solution to the ‘labor shortage’? Child labor.

Why not, right?

Lauren Elizabeth
3 min readOct 24, 2021


Photo by Bimo Luki on Unsplash

For months on end, we’ve been hearing about the “labor shortage” plaguing the United States. Now, with the holiday season approaching and inflation skyrocketing, there has been a renewed sense of urgency when it comes to the supply chain issues in particular and how they should be dealt with. In the state of Wisconsin, their Senate has come up with what they perceive to be a reasonable way to help solve the problem.

Wisconsin’s solution? Child labor.

Grace Dean with Insider writes:

“Wisconsin’s Senate approved a bill on Wednesday that would allow 14 and 15-year-olds to work until 11 p.m. on some days — much later than current laws allow.

Supporters of the bill say it could help plug the state’s labor shortage.

Wisconsin currently sticks to federal child-labor laws, which stipulate that people under the age of 16 can only work between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. from June 1 to Labor Day, and between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for the rest of the year.

The proposed bill would allow this group to instead work from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on days before a school day, and 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. when the next day isn’t a school day…”

We keep hearing about this labor shortage, but no one really talking about what things are currently like for the people who are employed by short staffed businesses. As someone working in a nursing home during a pandemic, there are no words to describe what the staffing issues have been like. I and my coworkers have never felt so stretched thin, exhausted, and angry. You can feel it in the air the moment you walk in, and the appreciation for all the extra work being done extends to little more than lip service, if that. Our admissions coordinator is quitting because she has a seven month old baby, and it costs more for daycare and gas to and from work than she makes.

But sure, people just don’t want to work.

These businesses are running their workers ragged, and rather than pay more or offer better benefits to get people in the door, the solution is to simply get 14 year old kids to work more hours?



Lauren Elizabeth

Lauren is a writer & leftist with analysis on topics related to politics & policy. She can be reached at LaurenMartinchek@gmail.com or Twitter @xlauren_mx