Child labor laws are essential for protecting the rights and welfare of young workers.
Florida labor laws are designed to ensure a safe working environment for minors, free from hazardous conditions as well as impose restrictions to emphasize the importance of regular school attendance.
This article will provide an overview of child labor laws in Florida, including age restrictions, limitations on working hours, and specific regulations applicable to different industries.
This article covers:
- Minimum Employment Age for Minors in Florida
- Working Permit for Minors in Florida
- Florida Payment Laws for Minors
- Break Requirements for Minors in Florida
- Working Hours for Minors in Florida
- Exceptions to Working Hours Limitations for Minors in Florida
- Banned Jobs for Minors in Florida
- Exceptions to Banned Jobs for Minors in Florida
- Florida Workplace Notices and Documentation Requirements for Child Employees
- Partial Waivers for Minors Labor Laws Restrictions in Florida
- Exemptions for Minors Labor Laws Restrictions in Florida
- Sanctions for Violating Minors Employment Laws in Florida
The minimum age for minors to work in Florida is 14 years old.
However, there are certain exemptions to this rule, such as:
- Minors working in their parent’s non-hazardous business
- Minors in newspaper delivery (allowed from the age of 10)
- Pages in the Florida Legislature
- Minors who have been approved to work in the entertainment industry
Minors in Florida are not required to obtain work permits or papers from schools or government agencies to work.
This can make it easier for minors to start working and gain valuable experience without having to deal with complicated bureaucratic processes.
However, while Florida does not require work permits for minors, it does regulate other aspects of child labor, such as working hours, breaks, and other related policies.
Generally, Florida employment law requires companies to pay underage workers at least the minimum wage.
However, there are certain exceptions to this requirement.
- New employees under the age of 20 can be paid a training wage. This training wage is set at $4.25 per hour and can be paid for the first 90 days of employment.
- High school or college students who are enrolled full-time can be paid 85% of Florida’s minimum wage for up to 20 hours of work per week. Currently, this amounts to $9.35 per hour.
- Student workers who earn a tipped wage are also allowed to be paid below the minimum wage. However, the total amount they earn with tips must meet or exceed the regular minimum wage of $11.00 per hour.
Florida break laws mandate that all kids under 18 who work for more than four hours straight must get a 30-minute break for lunch, whether they are in school or not.
The state of Florida has both state and federal labor laws regulating the working hours of minors. We have compiled for you the restrictions on the maximum hours and times that 14-15-year-olds and 16-17-year-olds can work in the table below:
|Academic Year Status
|Maximum Hours on School Day
|Maximum Hours on Non-school Day
|Maximum Hours per Week
|Maximum Consecutive Days
|Prohibited Work Hours
|6 consecutive days
|Before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
|Not in Session (June 1 to Labor Day)
|6 consecutive days
|Before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m. each day
|6 consecutive days
|Before 6:30 a.m. or after 11 p.m.
|Not in Session
|No hourly restrictions
|6 consecutive days
|No hourly restrictions
Tracking work hours for employed minors is essential for ensuring compliance with labor laws and regulations. Various tools exist today to monitor work hours including time tracking software or time and attendance software which allows for accurate tracking for a delicate balance between work and education.
Minors are exempt from the working hours restrictions if they:
- Are engaged in a career education program, a school-to-work program, or a comparable program
- Hold a certificate of partial exemption from the Child Labor Program or the public school
- Have been married
- Hold a high school diploma or a diploma equivalent to a high school diploma from a recognized institution
- Have served in the military
- Have been granted permission by a judge
In Florida, some jobs are thought to be dangerous for minors and are banned by law. These hazardous occupations are classified into two categories, namely:
- Occupations that are prohibited for all minors. These include building construction, working with toxic substances, and operating power-driven machinery, among others.
- Occupations that are prohibited for minors aged 14 and 15. These include heavy work in the building trades, working in freezers or meat coolers, and working with snake pits, among others.
In addition to these occupations, minors in Florida aged 18 or younger are also prohibited from working in establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold and served on-premises.
There are some exceptions that allow minors to work in restricted occupations under the law in Florida:
- Minors who work in drugstores, grocery stores, and similar establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold but not consumed on-premises
- Professional entertainers who are 17 years old and not attending school
- Minors who have received a waiver
- Minors who are 17 years or older with written permission from their principal to work in a bona fide food service establishment
- Minors who are 18 years old and under and employed as bellhops, elevator operators, or in similar positions
- Minors who are under the age of 18 and working in bowling alleys, as long as they are not serving, preparing, or selling alcoholic beverages
- Minors who are under the age of 18 and working as actors, actresses, or musicians in a bona fide dinner theater
To comply with the Florida Child Labor Law, employers must display Florida Child Labor Law Posters in a prominent location on the property to inform minors and employers about the Child Labor Law. The posters must contain information on:
- Limits on weekly and daily work hours when school is in session and breaks
- Banned jobs for minors
- Penalties for employers who fail to adhere to the law
- Mandatory rest periods for all underage workers.
Additionally, employers must keep waiver authorizations, proof of age documentation, such as a copy of the minor’s driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, or visa, and proof of exemption from minor status during the minor’s employment or until the minor turns 19.
It’s worth noting that Records and timesheets also serve as tools to hold employers accountable for their treatment of child laborers. Additionally, the data generated by time clock software is invaluable for child rights organizations and policymakers as they advocate for stronger protections and regulations, ultimately contributing to the overall well-being and future prospects of child workers.
In accordance with the Florida Child Labor law, which aims to protect and support minors in their education, there are provisions for partial waivers.
These waivers allow minors to request an exemption from certain aspects of the law if they believe it conflicts with their best interests or life circumstances.
Minors attending K-12 public schools can obtain a waiver from their local school district, while other minors can request an application from the Department of Business and Professional Child Labor Program.
Each waiver application is carefully reviewed and granted on an individual basis, considering the specific circumstances.
Applicants must provide evidence that certain requirements of Florida law should be waived.
It is important for employers to maintain copies of partial waivers for employed minors as part of their compliance with the law.
It’s important to note that minors who live on farms and whose parents or guardians manage a ranch or farm with livestock are exempt from hazardous occupation regulations, provided that they don’t work during school hours.
The Florida Child Labor Law also allows minors who live in difficult life circumstances to apply for waivers and receive a working license from the Child Labor Office, exempting them from certain regulations to be able to work.
However, this doesn’t apply to minors in the entertainment industry. Each waiver request is looked at on its own to make sure that minors in the workplace are safe and healthy.
Employers must comply with specific regulations when employing minors with waivers. More info here: Department of Business & Professional Regulation Penalties in Florida.
As Florida places a high priority on the protection of minors in the workplace, all employers must comply with child labor laws, ensure a safe work environment for minors, and provide proper supervision for minors.
Employers found in violation may face fines of up to $2,500 per offense and may be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. Additionally, under the FLSA, maximum fines of up to $11,000 per minor per violation can be imposed.
In the event that a minor is injured while employed in violation of Child Labor Laws, the employer may be liable for double the compensation that would be payable under Florida Workers’ Compensation law.
If an employer breaks any part of the child labor law, they must pay the injured worker, not the insurance company. However, the total compensation cannot exceed double the amount payable under the statute.
Important Cautionary Note
When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.