HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) Secretary Nancy A. Walker announced on Monday that the department has seen a large increase in Child Labor Act cases which have been given to them for investigations.

This is after committing to make child labor law violations a priority when she took office back in January. Since then, the department has opened 403 child labor investigations compared to 107 cases during the same time last year. This is a 276% increase, according to the department.

“While we can only speculate on the reason for such a surge in child labor cases, this is a concerning trend involving Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable workers. I want teens, parents, school employees, co-workers, local law enforcement, and the general public to know that L&I investigates all potential violations of the Child Labor Act. I want employers to know that we will hold you accountable if we determine that a violation has occurred,” Walker said.

Walker is also reminding workers who are under 18 years old of the protections that have by law and is encouraging all employees across the state to familiarize themselves with the Pennsylvania Child Labor Act, to make sure they are following the law.

The act is enforced by the department’s Bureau of Labor Law Compliance. This protects the health safety and welfare of all minors employed in Pennsylvania.

The bureau responds to all complaints that are submitted by the public who suspect that violations of the Child Labor Act are taking place. Anyone can file a complaint by filling out an online form, which can be accessed here.

Walker is also reminding teens, parents, and employers that the Child Labor Act applies tighter restrictions to teens’ working schedules during the school year.