Push to Liberalize Minor Employment Quickly Progressing Through Legislature

Push to Liberalize Minor Employment Quickly Progressing Through Legislature

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
|
January 19, 2024

Republican legislation to deregulate minor employment in Florida is swiftly progressing through the legislative process.

A group of bills concerning minor employment would include measures such as lowering minimum age requirements to work and removing employment curfews and hourly limits. 

The Florida Senate’s Education Pre-K-12 Committee recently approved SB460, a proposal to permit minors 16 and older to work on construction sites. 

Filed by Senator Corey Simon (R-3), the bill also encourages high school students’ exposure to career and technical education through career fairs and networking events. 

The most comprehensive minor employment reform attempt, however, is Florida Representative Linda Chaney’s (R-61) HB49. 

Most notably, Representative Chaney’s bill would enable all those 16 and up to work the same hours as adults. 

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. 

If passed, minor employment regulations would be rolled back after July 1st, 2024. 

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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