A Business-Minded Approach To Employment Law

Florida law allows employers to increase hours for minors

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2024 | Employment Law |

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed legislation that will allow minors in the state to work longer hours starting July 1. This law overrides existing regulations created in 1986 in response to child labor violations.

House Bill 49, which passed along mostly party lines, will give employers more flexibility in scheduling workers for shifts.

Extended hours for traditional high school students

Starting July 1, workers aged 15 and younger can work longer than 15 hours per week during the summer months when school is not in session. Additionally, 16- and 17-year-olds can work after 11 p.m. when there is no school the following day. They can also work for more than 30 hours in one week when school is in session if they have parental approval, and for more than six days in a row in a given week.

Few restrictions on alternatively schooled children

Employers have the most flexibility in scheduling homeschooled teenagers and those who attend virtual school. Because this demographic of worker has fewer time constraints related to their schooling, they are exempt from regulations on when they can work.

Changes to the original proposal

The bill underwent significant changes from its original form. Initially, it would have allowed 16- and 17-year-olds to work before 6:30 a.m. and after 11 p.m. at any time during the year. It also would have prevented cities and counties from enacting a curfew on minors later than 11 p.m. However, in its final version, the bill does not include these extensions to the workday.

Support and opposition

Groups such as the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association and the National Federation of Independent Business-Florida supported this bill, arguing that it puts control back in the hands of parents and guardians. However, many Democrats, union leaders and worker advocates opposed the bill, viewing it as a rollback of vital protections for vulnerable employees.

Although the bill was weaker than its original proposal, it still represents a shift in regulations. It is unknown how these changes will impact employers and the overall labor market in Florida.