Proposed Laws for Florida’s Public and Private Employers in 2024

The 2024 Florida Legislative Session is set to introduce a variety of proposed bills that could significantly impact both public and private employers across the state.

These proposed pieces of legislation cover a broad spectrum of issues, ranging from employment practices to healthcare, and aim to address the evolving needs of Florida’s workforce and employer community. Here’s an overview of some of the key proposed bills and their potential implications:

  1. Employment of Minors: Legislation proposes changes to the employment restrictions for minors aged 16 and 17, potentially allowing them more flexibility in work hours and conditions. This could create more opportunities for employers and young workers alike but has sparked debate regarding its impact on education and child labor concerns​​​​.
  2. Paid Parental Leave: Proposals are in place for offering paid parental leave to state workers who have been career service employees for a certain period. This could set a precedent for broader application in the future, potentially affecting other state agencies, political subdivisions, and private employers​​​​.
  3. Gender Identity Employment Practices: There are proposals aimed at regulating how gender identity is acknowledged in the workplace. These bills, if passed, might restrict the requirement for employees to use specific titles and pronouns, reflecting a significant shift in employment law related to gender identity and expression​​​​.
  4. Prohibited Discrimination Based on Hairstyle (The Crown Act): Legislation is being considered to prohibit discrimination based on natural hairstyles, recognizing hairstyles as a protected category under race. This would specifically impact the Florida K-12 public education system but could also influence broader employment practices​​.
  5. Military Leave of Absence: A bill is proposed to provide full pay for the first ninety days of military leave for certain public officials, which could have implications for public sector employers and their policies on military leave​​.
  6. Expanding Autonomy for Health Professionals: There are bills aimed at expanding the autonomy of certified psychiatric nurses and other mental health professionals in the workplace. This is in response to the anticipated shortage of healthcare providers and could reshape the landscape of healthcare delivery and employment​​.
  7. Invalid Restrictive Covenants in Health Care: This proposed legislation seeks to ban certain restrictive covenants related to licensed physicians, potentially broadening exceptions to non-compete and restrictive covenants in the healthcare sector​​.
  8. Cannabis Offenses: A notable bill (SB 94) aims to reduce criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of cannabis, which could affect employer policies on drug testing and employment eligibility​​.
  9. Minimum Base Salary for Teachers: The “Save Our Teachers Act” (SB 136) proposes to increase the minimum base salary for full-time classroom teachers and certain prekindergarten teachers, impacting educational institutions and their staffing budgets​​.
  10. Social Media Protection for Minors: Another bill (HB 207) would require social media platforms to disclose policies aimed at protecting minors, which could have implications for how educational institutions and possibly employers use social media​​.
  11. Artificial Intelligence: SB 972 proposes the creation of an artificial intelligence advisory council to develop a statewide policy on AI use, which could influence how businesses and public entities implement AI technologies​​.
  12. E-Verify Requirements: Recent legislation (Senate Bill 1718) expanded E-Verify requirements for most private employers, mandating work eligibility verification for employees hired on or after July 1, 2023, and imposing penalties for non-compliance​​.

These proposed bills reflect Florida’s ongoing efforts to navigate complex social, economic, and technological challenges. Employers and employees alike should stay informed about these developments, as they could bring significant changes to the workplace and employment practices in the state.