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This newsletter highlights events and programs offered through the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

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Small business uses Shared Work to get through slow seasons, deter turn over

Small business uses Shared Work to get through slow seasons, deter turn overCENTERTOWN - A small, tight-knit crew at Longfellow’s Garden Center works together year after year to beautify landscapes in Central Missouri, but Owner Alice Longfellow says the picture would be different if Missouri’s Shared Work program wasn’t there to help during slow seasons.

“It is exactly what we need,” Longfellow said of the program. “It has been a win, win.”

Missouri’s Shared Work program benefits thousands of Missourians working at large corporations each year, but it also improves the landscape of employment for small, locally owned businesses like Longfellow’s throughout the state.

Shared Work is an alternative to layoffs for employers faced with a reduction in available work. It allows an employer to divide available work among employees instead of layoffs, and employees receive a portion of their unemployment benefits while working reduced hours for up to 52 weeks.

The program provides benefits to employees and employers alike. In addition to the security of a paycheck during slow times, Shared Work helps retain employees the company has invested in with time and money.

According to Longfellow, the nature of her business means plenty of work is available in the spring when residents are preparing their yards for summer and fall when they clear the aftermath of the beautiful Missouri foliage. But, it leaves her employees short on hours during the summer and winter months.

“Being a small business, we don’t have the resources to absorb a lot of poorly used labor,” Longfellow said. “We literally have to come up with the hours for all of our employees to work.”

This is especially true of the three hourly employees at Longfellow’s Garden Center, as other employees are salaried, so the cost of their employment is spread out across up times and down times.

These employees and their training and skills, however, are no less important to the garden center and the way it serves its customers.

Longfellow knows that her employees would not be in a secure financial situation that would allow them to ride through the slow seasons if it were not for Shared Work.
“They would have to find another job, and we would have to start new with someone every year,” she said. “The wealth of information they carry with them from year to year is priceless. They know about the business, about techniques we use. They know the customer base.”

With Shared Work in place, those valuable employees feel financially secure through the slow seasons, as Shared Work provides them with up to $64 per 8-hour work day missed.

Learn more about the Shared Work program at sharedwork.mo.gov.

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Youth employment: What to expect this school year

Youth employment: What to expect this school yearAs many Missouri families prepare to begin a new school year, most summer activities are also coming to an end. Some youth, however, may not feel ready to relinquish the new responsibility and earned income found in their summer job.

It is important for youth, parents, employers and school officials to understand Missouri’s child labor laws to protect these young people while helping them reach their goals.

Youth age 16 and above may continue working into the school year without special authorization, but younger teens may have additional restrictions requiring a work certificate or permit, outlining appropriate work schedules and establishing what types of work are appropriate for youth.

In general, youth age 14-15 may be employed in clerical, retail, food service and vehicle cleaning or maintenance positions with a work certificate.

Youth interested in obtaining a work certificate will need an application signed by a parent or legal guardian. Work certificates are issued by the superintendent of the school district where the youth resides or the parent of the child if home-schooled.

In addition, teens age 14-15 may not work past 7 p.m. while school is in session and may not work more than three hours on school days.

Under no circumstances should a child under age 16 be employed for door-to-door sales, operating hazardous equipment, handling power-driven machinery, mining, quarrying, transporting or handling explosives, operating motor vehicles, saw mills, ionizing or non-ionizing radiation, jobs in hotels unless physically separated from sleeping accommodations, jobs in which alcoholic beverages or sold, manufactured or bottled unless at least 50 percent of sales are generated from other goods, or any job dangerous to the life, limb, health or morals of the youth.

All youth under age 16 may also work in the entertainment industry with a work permit. This permit must be obtained regardless of the time of year.

Youth over 12 years old may engage in work such as babysitting, newspaper delivery, occasional yard work, coaching and refereeing with no certificate or permit, regardless of the time of year.

For more information about youth employment laws in Missouri, visit the Youth Employment section of our website.

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MCHR Diversity Spotlight - Women's Suffrage

MCHR Diversity Spotlight - All People/Freedom (July 4th)Suffrage, or the right to vote, was not always available to every American. Throughout our history, there were several struggles to gain equal voting rights. Women's Equality Day commemorates the certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution on Aug. 26, 1920, each year.

This Amendment, also referred to as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, states, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Women's Equality Day was established by Congress in 1971 to honor women's continuing efforts toward equal rights, and every year since, the President has issued a proclamation naming Aug. 26 as Women's Equality Day.

The struggle to gain women's suffrage began early in U.S. history. In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, effectively launching the movement upon agreement by the attendees that women were deserving of their own political identities. By 1870, there were two notable suffragist organizations, the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association.

In 1871, a petition was sent to Congress requesting the prohibition against voting by women to be lifted. The document was signed by Anthony, Stanton, and other suffragists. Anthony was later arrested for registering and voting in the 1872 election in Rochester, NY, and was fined $100, which she swore would never be paid. Instead, she petitioned Congress, requesting the fine be withdrawn and stating that her conviction was unjust. Aggressive suffragists used tactics such as parades, silent vigils and hunger strikes but were often met with fierce resistance by opponents, who heckled, jailed and, sometimes, physically abused them.

Though less famous, a Missourian named Virginia Minor was also part of the movement. Minor, the co-founder and first president of the Woman's Suffrage Association of Missouri, attempted to register to vote in St. Louis on Oct. 15, 1872, but was turned down by election registrar Reese Happersett. She filed suit and was represented by her husband, Francis, an attorney. The case, Minor v. Happersett, made it all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, and at each level of the process, the state of Missouri was the victor. The Supreme Court was unanimous in its decision: “…the Constitution of the United States does not confer the right of suffrage upon anyone...” Minor later went on to testify in front of the United States Senate in support of women’s suffrage in 1889.

Wealthy white women were not the only early leaders in support of suffrage rights. Other proponents included prominent African American women such as Mary Church Terrell, the first president of the National Association of Colored Women, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett, famous for leading a crusade against lynching. Frederick Douglass, a former slave and leader of the abolition movement, was also an advocate. With a growing amount of support, the suffragists came together for a common goal in 1916: seeking an amendment to the Constitution.

Though there was still strong opposition to the idea of women having the right to vote, the House of Representatives passed the 19th Amendment by a vote of 304 to 90, while the Senate approved it 56 to 25. Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan were the first states to ratify it. Tennessee appeared to have ratified the Amendment on Aug. 18, 1920, because of a change in vote from “Nay” to “Yay” by Harry Burn, thought to be due to the insistence of his mother. The ratification was not official, however, and those against the Amendment managed to delay by fleeing the state to avoid a quorum and holding massive rallies in an attempt to discourage passage. This was all for naught, as Tennessee's critical 36th vote on the ratification was reaffirmed, and the 19th Amendment would, from that point on, guarantee women the right to vote.

Missouri lays claim to having the first documented vote by a woman in an election following the signing of the 19th Amendment. Just five days after the Amendment officially became law, Aug. 31, 1920, Marie Ruoff Byrum participated in a special election to fill the seat of an alderman who had resigned in Hannibal, Missouri. Despite the pouring rain, Byrum cast her ballot at 7:00 a.m., becoming the first woman to enjoy the privilege of suffrage in the United States under the 19th Amendment.

Please enjoy these Missouri events celebrating women.

Find out more about important events from women's history and issues important to women today:

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