Florida Legislature Considers Liberalizing Minor Employment

Florida Legislature Considers Liberalizing Minor Employment

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
December 15, 2023

The Florida Legislature is considering whether to pass recently proposed laws that would deregulate some aspects of minor employment in Florida. 

Florida Representative Linda Chaney (R) filed legislation that would, among other things, enable all those 16 and up to work the same hours as adults. 

Yesterday, Representative Chaney’s bill was approved in the Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee. 

If the bill becomes law, minors 16 and older would also be permitted to work full, 6-day work weeks, regardless if school is in session. 

Additional curfews for employment of minors 16 and older would also be struck. 

Chaney defended her bill during committee hearings, explaining teenage employment is remarkably low despite increased willingness to work. 

Nearly a million [internet] searches have been performed, ‘How can I get a job as a teen?’ They want to work,” alleged Chaney. 

According to Chaney, 60% of 16- and 17-year-olds were working in 1938 while only 38% work today. 

Chaney has also pointed to Federal laws leaving minors 16 and older free to work the same quantities as adults as support for her proposal. 

Florida reported record unemployment data earlier this year.

As described by The Floridian, in the first quarter of 2023, the state of Florida maintained its near record-low unemployment numbers at 2.6% for the fourth consecutive month.

From April 2022 to April 2023, Florida saw a 4.1% increase in private sector employment (an addition of 336,200 jobs), 1.4% higher than the national average during that period. During that time frame, Florida employers added jobs for 35 months straight since May 2020.

Should Chaney’s bill be enacted, Florida’s economy would receive an added boost from greater access to a broadening workforce. 

Yet Chaney’s proposal has faced opposition from Democrat lawmakers who fear decreased regulation could result in minors being subjected to workplace mistreatment.

In the latest committee hearing, Democrats advocated for including seven amendments to Chaney’s proposal. After all were rejected, not a single Democrat voted with the Republican majority that approved the bill.

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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