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senate Bill S. 1656

Treating Children's Consignment Event Volunteers as Volunteers, and not Employees

Argument in favor

Consignment events operate under different rules than workplaces, and the people involved with such events should be treated accordingly.

Argument opposed

If one is getting 70% of sales from events, they should be considered employees, not volunteers.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    IntroducedNovember 6th, 2013

What is Senate Bill S. 1656?

This bill amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to exclude any individuals who volunteer their services at a children's consignment event from minimum wage and maximum hours requirements; that is, it affirms volunteers as volunteers.  

In case you imagined a "children's consignment event" as a fair where children are sold on consignment, the bill defines such events as 

 a sale or other event in which: (1) at least 90% of the aggregate fair market value of items offered for sale are children's or maternity clothing, and resale items are offered for sale on consignment; and (2) the event is held open to the public in a single location for the sale of goods for 8 or fewer sale days within any 30-day period.


This bill impacts volunteers at children's consignment events.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1656

No significant impact on the federal budget.

More Information


In Detail:

The below matter is taken from the above press release:

The Children’s Consignment Event Recognition Act would exempt children’s consignment events from regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and support the continuation of these events that supply thousands of families with low-cost children’s clothing. 
Earlier this year, Rhea Lana Riner informed Rep. Griffin that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) was auditing her business.  Mrs. Riner operates Rhea Lana’s, Inc. whose franchises hold periodic children’s consignment events in more than sixty locations around the nation.  At the center of the audit was the issue of whether the consignors at Rhea Lana's events should be considered employees under the FLSA. 
The consignors sign up to volunteer their services to sell their items at the Rhea Lana’s events, in exchange for which they receive early shopping privileges and 70 percent of their total sales.  This business model allows consignors to set up and operate these consignment events and to serve brief shifts.  This facilitates the sale of low-cost children’s clothing to families.   
DOL has allowed for exemptions from FLSA for volunteers who receive minimal compensation for their services.  Unfortunately, following their investigation, DOL concluded that these consignors are FLSA-covered employees, requiring substantial alteration to Rhea Lana’s business model and affecting thousands of families that rely on Rhea Lana’s consignment events for affordable children’s clothes.


Children's Consignment Event Recognition Act of 2013

Official Title

A bill to clarify that volunteers at a children's consignment event are not employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.