Dziennik Chicagoski -- April 13, 1891Our Representative at Springfield John A. Kwasigroch Introduces an Important Bill at the State Legislature Proposing Protection of Working Women and Children (Summarized Editorial)
The introduction of Congressman Kwasigroch's bill at the State legislature created great interest among the working class.
Kwasigroch's bill proposes that no person under the age of eighteen, or a woman employed by a commercial house, should work longer than sixty hours a week or more than ten hours a day, with the exception when they have to make up time. No person under eighteen years of age, or a woman under twenty-one years of age, should work at public places after 9 P. M. or before 6 A. M. However employers will be allowed, by special permission, to employ persons over eighteen years old after 9 P. M. between the first Monday in December and the first Tuesday in January of the next year, providing that these persons are allowed 45 minutes for supper.2
Commercial houses in the State of Illinois shall not employ minors under fourteen years of age. Every employer shall keep a register in which must be recorded the name, age, place of birth, and the address of every minor under sixteen years of age, and such institutions shall not employ minors supply the employers with a sworn statement containing the age and birth date of their child. If the child has no parents or guardians, it must make such statement itself. These statements must be presented for examination to an authorized labor Department inspector.
Every employer of minors under eighteen years of age, must exhibit in a conspicuous place a printed schedule showing the number of hours worked by each minor every week, and in every room where children under sixteen years of age are employed, the schedule must indicate also their names and ages. Commercial houses shall not employ children under sixteen years of age who cannot read and write easy sentences in the English language, 3except during the vacation time. Authorized Labor Department inspectors have the right to demand doctors' certificates showing the physical fitness of minors employed by commercial houses, and they also have the right to forbid the employment of minors who have no such certificates.
The term commercial house used in this bill means every place or establishment where articles are sold for profit; hoever, it does not include small places where less than five persons are employed.
The owners of commercial houses, or their agents, shall keep all elevators n goo order and use all precautions. The stairways of commercial houses shall be provided with suitable railing on both sides and the steps covered with rubber mats if necessary, according to the decision of safety inspectors. The stairs and stairways of commercial institutions must be free from all obstructions and the doors leading to them must open both ways, in and out, ad must not be locked during working hours. Commercial buildings of more 4than three stories must be provided with strong and safe iron fire-escapes, according to the specifications of safety inspectors. Safety inspectors have the right to condemn any dangerous or defective fire-escapes. The platforms of fire-escapes must be built under two windows of each story and in a convenient location. The stairs must be 24 inches wide and at a 45 degrees angle.
The owners of commercial homes or their agents, must send a written report to safety inspectors of all accidents or misfortunes which may occur to their employees, not later than forty-eight hours after the accident. The report must contain all details of the accident. The inspectors will have the right to make an investigation and suggest any changes that may eliminate the recurrence of such accidents in the future.
Every commercial institution must be provided with comfortable lavatories and toilets, which should be kept in a sanitary condition and well ventilated; 5and where women are employed, there must be a separate toilet room and a dressing room. The rest room where the lunches are eaten should be separated from the lavatories and toilets.
Every employer is obliged to provide suitable seats for women employees, and they should be permitted to use them for health measures. Negligence of this duty by an employer will be considered a violation of the law.
Commercial institutions are not allowed to employ women or children in basements that are unsanitary or damp on account of water seepage or that are filled with injurious gases, or condemned by Labor Department inspectors.
Not less than 45 minutes must be allowed for lunch time in any commercial institution. The Labor Department inspectors, however, have the right to issue a written permission for a shorter lunch period if it is necessary at certain times of the year, but such written permission must be displayed at a conspicuous place.6
In this State Labor Department inspectors and their assistants are obliged to enforce these regulations and bring to justice those who disregard them; therefore, they have the right to inspect any commercial institution at any proper time and as often as necessary. Any owner or manager of any commercial institution who hinders, delays, inconveniences or resists such investigation is committing an offense. The Labor Department inspectors and their assistants will have the authority of a notary public in taking oaths in the course of their investigations.
State's attorneys of every county in this State have the right, and it will be their duty, to prosecute at any court any person who violates these regulations, of such action is demanded by a Labor Department inspector or his assistant.
Every person violating or neglecting these regulations, or employing minors in spite of them, shall be guilty of breaking the law and punished by a fine 7of not less than ten dollars and not more than one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment of not less than thirty days and not more than ninety days.
A printed copy of these regulations should be displayed at every institution and at every location in this State where persons are employed to whom this regulation refers.
This law is effective at once.
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