At this time of the year, many teenagers here in Florida are anxious to line up work for the upcoming summer that will not only help them cover their everyday expenses but also save for college.
Those 16- and 17-year-olds lucky enough to find work at a restaurant, retail store or any other establishment must understand, however, that while they do have well-defined rights under both Florida’s child labor laws and the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, they are also subject to well-defined restrictions.
School and work
In general, Florida law dictates that in the absence of certain factors — which we’ll address in a subsequent post — no 16- or 17-year-old is permitted to work during regular school hours. While some may question the severity of this mandate, it exists to ensure that teens are securing the education they need and deserve.
However, Florida law does allow 16- and 17-year-olds to work when school is in session provided the following conditions are satisfied:
- They cannot work before 6:30 a.m. or after 11 p.m.
- They can work a maximum of 30 hours per week.
- They cannot work for more than eight hours on days in which school is scheduled for the next day. (No hour restrictions when the next day isn’t a school day).
As you would probably guess, both Florida law and the FLSA outline no limitations on the amount of hours worked by 16- and 17-year-olds when school is not in session, meaning winter and spring breaks, and summer vacation.
We’ll continue this discussion in our next post, further examining some of the restrictions governing 16- and 17-year-old workers in the Sunshine State, as well as some of the available exemptions to these hour and age restrictions.
Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you believe that your employee rights have been violated in any capacity.