Florida Bill To Relax Work Regulations For 16 And 17-Year-Olds Set For House Vote

Tallahassee, FL: A bill to relax work laws and enable 16 and 17-year-olds to work more hours is set for a full vote on the Florida House floor.

HB 49 passed the Florida Commerce Committee on Tuesday, its final stop before moving to the full House. It passed 13-5, mostly along party lines, with Democrats opposing it.

The bill allows teenagers aged 16 and 17 to work the same number of hours as adults aged 18 and up. Teens are no longer allowed to work more than 8 hours per day when school is in session the next day or more than 30 hours in any one week when school is in session. They would also be permitted to work more than six days straight in a week.

It also repeals a provision that prohibits teens aged 16 and 17 from working more than 4 hours in a row without taking a 30-minute break. Instead, they would be permitted the same breaks as employees aged 18 and up.

The law would also require municipal and county governments that have curfews to create exemptions.

Supporters of the law argue that the new restrictions will encourage teen labor force participation while also allowing firms to hire 16 and 17-year-olds without cumbersome requirements. They also claim that the bill is consistent with federal labor rules and 24 other states, including some Democratic states.

“In 1938, 68 percent of 16 and 17-year-olds worked. The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Linda Chaney, R-St. Pete Beach stated that the percentage has now reduced to 38%. “HR managers claim that Gen Xers lack career-ready skills for today’s workforce, limiting employment chances. There have been nearly 1 million searches for ‘how can I acquire a job as a teen.’ “They want to work.”

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