Florida Basics on Employing Underage Students
Worldwide, the coronavirus pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in child labor. Businesses have shut down, unemployment is rampant, and hundreds of millions of children are no longer in school due to school closures, according to the United Nations. In many countries, these children are required to work to support themselves and their families.
Here, in the United States, unemployment is very high, rent payments are overdue, and food lines are long. The economic fallout is widespread, though especially prevalent among Black, Latino, Indigenous, and migrant households. To support their families, underage students with no or little work history are looking for gainful employment. By attending school online, part-time or fulltime, they are more available to work, too. Before hiring and scheduling minors for work in Florida, employers need to review and comply with both state and federal child labor law restrictions.
Under Florida law, § 450.08, Florida Statutes, specifies:
- Minors 15 years or younger cannot work before 7 am or after 7 pm when school is scheduled the following day or more than 15 hours in any one week. Minors 15 years or younger who are not enrolled in a career education program cannot work more than 3 hours on a school day, unless there is no session of school the following day.
- Minors 16 and 17 years old cannot work before 6:30 am or after 11 pm or for more than 8 hours when school is scheduled the next day and cannot work for more than 30 hours in any one week. Minors 16 and 17 who are not enrolled in a career education program cannot work during school hours.
- Minors 17 years of age or younger cannot work more than 6 consecutive days in a week and cannot work more than 4 hours continuously without a 30-minute meal break.
- Exception: These provisions do not apply to minors 16 and 17 years of age who have graduated from high school or received a GED, minors who are within the compulsory school attendance age limit who hold an exemption issued by the superintendent, minors enrolled in public education who qualify to work on a hardship basis (economic necessity or family emergency) issued by the superintendent, and children who are in domestic service in private homes, employed by their parents, or pages in the Florida Legislature.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act allows employment of minors under age 14 in certain non-agricultural occupations that are not covered by the FLSA (delivering newspapers, acting, minor chores in private homes, babysitting); ages 14 and 15 in nonmanufacturing and nonhazardous jobs for limited hours and under limited conditions; and ages 16 and 17 for unlimited hours in any occupation except hazardous occupations. More information can be found here: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/child-labor.