There are countless youths every year looking to get started in life and earn money when they’re in school. They learn how to take on responsibility with a job and can afford to buy things on their own. However, there are limits to how much and where they can work.
The government passed the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to protect children from child labor. It states that child workers should be 16 or 17 before working non-agriculture jobs. If a child is 14 or 15, they are also allowed to work, assuming the job doesn’t interfere with school attendance or school hours.
On top of the federal law regarding child labor, Florida has more detailed laws businesses must follow. Read below to learn about the conditions where minors can work in Florida.
Youth Minimum Wage & Age
In general, companies must pay underage workers minimum wage. However, there are some exceptions to this rule in Florida employment law.
Employers can pay new employees under 20 a training wage. This wage is $4.25 per hour for the first 90 days of employment.
Minor workers enrolled in high school or college full-time can make 85% of Florida’s minimum wage for up to 20 hours of work weekly. This amounts to $9.35 per hour.
Student workers who earn a tipped wage can also make below minimum wage. But the amount earned with tips must meet the $11.00 per hour minimum wage.
A minor can take on many types of work, but some are too dangerous to work for someone who isn’t old enough. A minor can’t take on any job that includes any of the tasks or equipment below:
- Operation of a motor vehicle
- Mining, excavation, and demolition
- Ladders, scaffolding, or roofing higher than six feet
- Hoisting machines
- Sawing and millwork
- Brick and tile manufacturing
- Power equipment
- Electrical work
- Work with gas with pressure over 40 PSI
- Metalwork with forming, sheering, and punching machines
- Tractors over 20 PTO horsepower, forklifts, and other moving equipment
- Toxic substances
- Alcoholic beverages
Hourly Limits: How Many Hours A Week Can A Minor Work In Florida?
Florida restricts how many hours a minor can work every week. This number depends on the child’s age.
So, how many hours can a minor work in Florida?
Minors 16 or 17 Years of Age
Minors 16 or 17 years old have clear boundaries when working during the school year. Unlike the summer when they’re out of school, there are restrictions on the number of hours per day and week:
- They can work eight hours per day when scheduled for school the next day.
- They aren’t permitted to work between 11 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.
- They can’t work more than 30 hours per week.
Minors 14 or 15 Years of Age
Florida also allows 14 and 15-year-olds to work, but additional hour limitations exist:
- They can work three hours on days when scheduled for school the following day.
- They can work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on school days.
- They can work up to 15 hours per week.
Unlike 16 and 17-year-olds, 14 and 15-year-old minors can’t work as much as they want when school isn’t in session. Here are their hour restrictions during the summer vacation months:
- Can work between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.
- Can work up to 40 hours in one week
- Can work no more than eight hours daily
Additionally, Florida statutes state minors must have a break after working four continuous hours. Employers must offer a break of at least 30 minutes.
Some exemptions allow you to bypass the above rules. A minor needs one of the following to have an exemption:
- The minor has already graduated with a diploma or received a high school equivalency diploma
- The minor has received an exemption from the school
- The minor qualifies to work on a hardship basis
- The minor works in private homes in domestic service
- The minor works for their parents
- The minor works for the Florida Legislature as a page
Mandatory Employment & Age Certification For Minors
An employer can’t take the word of a minor that they’re permitted to work. Employers must verify that a minor can legally work in their business.
Employment Certificates in Florida
An employment certificate, or work permit, is a document minors can obtain that verifies they can lawfully work in the state. Florida law doesn’t require employers to obtain a work permit for minors they employ.
Age Certification in Florida
Like employment certificates, minors don’t need to produce age certifications to work in Florida. However, an employer must keep a minor’s proof of age on record. This proof can be official documentation like a driver’s license or birth certificate.
Repercussions for Breaking Child Labor Laws
You have options if your child currently works and you believe their employer is taking advantage of them. The first step is seeking legal help to file employment claims.
Once you file the employment claim, Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation will notify the employer, provide proof of the offense, offer remedial requirements, and give a time frame for complying with the law. A business will suffer fines and other penalties if it fails to take the proper corrective steps.
Below are the violations to look for if you’re concerned a company doesn’t follow Florida child labor laws:
- Failure to post child labor posters in a conspicuous place
- Failure to maintain records of minor workers
- Scheduling minors for too many hours
- Requiring minors to perform hazardous occupations
Fines and penalties depend on the severity of the offense. Civil penalties can reach $2,500 and come with a second-degree misdemeanor criminal charge.
Trust The Experts
In their excitement to start their first job, many minors jump the gun and apply for jobs they aren’t qualified for. Whether it’s because of negligence or malice, some businesses don’t follow the law, hire underage workers, and run afoul of Florida’s child labor protections.
You need the help of the experts if your child is in this situation. Our experienced attorneys at Burnett Law, P.A. can walk you through your options and ensure you get the help you need to protect your child. Schedule a free consultation.