Florida Introduces Bold Initiative: Empowering Youth to Thrive at Night! Proposed Change to Enhance Opportunities for Youngsters in the Workforce


Florida House Republican Proposes Bill to Lift Restrictions on Working Hours for 16 and 17-Year-Olds

A Florida House Republican, Rep. Linda Chaney, filed a bill on Monday that would lift existing restrictions on working hours for 16 and 17-year-olds in the state, allowing them to work longer hours even when school is in session.

The measure, House Bill 49, or HB 49, aims to remove certain employment restrictions for minors aged 16 and 17. Currently, these restrictions prevent them from working during the very early hours of the morning and late at night, and limit their weekly working hours to 30 when school is in session.

Efforts to Relax Child Labor Laws

Previous attempts to relax child labor laws have been made by Republicans in other states. In Arkansas, for example, a bill known as HB 1410 landed on the desk of Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders in March. This bill sought to remove the need for a work permit for children under the age of 16 as a condition of employment.

A file photo of a teenager working in a shop. A Florida House Republican filed a bill on Monday that would lift existing restrictions on working hours for 16 and 17-year-olds in the state. Getty

The National Debate on Child Labor Laws

The country has been engaged in a major national debate over weakening child labor laws, particularly due to the ongoing shortage of workers exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. With millions of jobs lost, many sectors continue to face a lack of available workers.

Florida’s Labor Force

Florida stands out as one of the few states with a higher percentage of its labor force working now than before the pandemic, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In fact, Florida currently has 57 available workers for every 100 open jobs.

Current Restrictions and Proposed Changes

Under current law in Florida, individuals aged 16 and 17 are prohibited from working before 6:30 a.m. or after 11:00 p.m., and are limited to working a maximum of 8 hours per day when school is scheduled for the following day. Children aged 14 cannot be employed, with a few limited exceptions.

Rep. Chaney’s bill proposes to completely remove these restrictions, while also suggesting that the existing age restrictions for 16 and 17-year-olds should be lowered to apply to those aged 15. For example, the current law prohibits children aged 15 from being employed before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. when they have school the following day, but Chaney suggests replacing the absolute prohibition with a discretionary “may not” instead of “shall not”.

Equal Treatment as Adults

The proposed bill includes a provision that would allow minors aged 16 and 17 to work the same number of hours as individuals who are 18 years of age or older. This provision aims to grant them the same treatment and work rights as adults under labor law.

Municipal Regulations and Future Process

Anticipating potential controversy surrounding the bill, HB 49 also seeks to prevent Florida counties and municipalities from enforcing laws that would bypass the proposed legislation and impose stricter regulations on the employment of minors.

The bill is expected to undergo committee reviews and the state legislative process. If passed, it is projected to take effect on July 1, 2024.

Newsweek contacted Rep. Chaney and Florida Democrats for comment via email on Tuesday.


Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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