COLUMBUS (WJW) – Should younger teenagers be permitted to work longer hours during the school year?

They’re currently limited to a cutoff of 7 p.m., but a new bill in Ohio will allow 14 and 15-year-olds to work until 9 p.m. on school days.

“We do have parents who are happy that their teenager gets the opportunity to make a living and learn how to build good job ethics and also an opportunity to make some money while they’re in school,” said Sen. Tina Maharath, D-Columbus, who co-sponsored the bill.

HB 251 unanimously passed the State Senate Tuesday and was expected to pass the House during a late session Wednesday night.

Teens under 16 are still not permitted to work before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m. They must have approval from a parent or legal guardian.

They can’t work for more than three hours a day on a school day or more than 18 hours during a week while school is in session, nor more than eight hours a day during any non-school day.

“Some parents do have a concern about how it’s going to impact sleep and how it’s going to impact grades, but the bill is written out to where the parents have control,” said Maharath.

Lawmakers say the bill will not only provide more opportunities for teenagers, but it will also help employers who are struggling to find employees post-pandemic.

“It’s just been trouble staffing people, even with good pay and stuff like that,” said Walter Snyder, manager of Angelo’s Pizza Lakewood.

But the award-winning pizza shop on Madison Avenue has seen a rise in younger teens applying for jobs.

This bill would allow them to offer 14 and 15-year-olds positions.

“We see a lot of younger kids coming in ready to work. Especially some of the high schoolers we do have here are some of the hardest workers I’ve seen,” said Snyder. “I think it would be good for the workforce to try to get anybody and everybody who wants to work involved.”