Family minimum wage exemption passes Idaho House

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The Idaho House passed a bill to exempt minors working for immediate family members from minimum wage laws in a 60-9 vote Tuesday.

Current state law offers minimum wage exemptions for minors working on family farms and for 16-year olds working part-time less than four hours a day. HB 466, sponsored by Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, would expand that to family businesses.

At a committee hearing two weeks ago, Nate said he proposed the bill after a constituent reached out to him about the exemptions not applying to family businesses.

“He was worried whether he was breaking the law or not to have his kids work in the shop, and sweep up and clean up. And he saw the exception for agriculture and wanted to make sure he was on the right side of the law when he employs his family members,” Nate told the House Business Committee.

Floor debate today saw questions over the definition of immediate family.

“Can you define what immediate family means? Is there settled case law on that?…,” Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, asked Nate. “Are grandparents also immediate family?”

Nate responded there is case law on the matter, specifying that parents and children are immediate family. He was unsure whether grandparents were included.

“I’m not fully aware of that, but I’m sure that the courts have settled law on this matter,” Nate said.

HB 466 now moves to the Senate.

– Kyle Pfannenstiel covers the 2018 Idaho Legislature for the University of Idaho McClure Center for Public Policy Research.

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