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What Are the Employment Laws for Minors Looking to Work Summer Jobs in Florida?

School’s out and lots of ambitious kids are looking for a productive way to spend the summer; and parents of kids of the ambitious and not so ambitious persuasions may be nudging their offspring in the direction of gainful employment for those long summer months. Work builds character they say; and it also tends to keep kids out of trouble—and dare we say out of your hair as well, without sounding too politically incorrect?

Summer jobs are a great way for kids to accumulate pocket money to keep them going through the school year, to buy new clothes, or to help to plump up that college fund. Having a summer job can also help a teen become more independent, build confidence, learn how to handle money, meet new people, and make connections in the community, while gaining work experience and building their resume.

Whether you are a teenager, a parent of a youngster who is considering looking for work this summer, or an employer who could use and extra hand for a couple of months, you may have questions about how the rules for working kids differ from those that apply to adults.

Here’s the deal:

Employers who hire minors, whether in the summer or during the school year, have to comply with both state and federal child labor laws. Here are the rules that apply to minors working in Florida:

How many hours can minors work in Florida?

A minor age 14 or 15 can work up to eight hours a day and forty hours a week in the summer when school is not in session, but only between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Minors 16 and 17 are allowed to work any number of hours during summer break.

Minors of any age are not allowed to work more than four hours straight without a half-hour meal break, and are only allowed to work six consecutive days in a week. These rules apply to minors working at any time of the year.

Restrictions involving hours do not apply to students in a school sponsored work program, married minors, those who have graduated from high school or hold a GED, or those who have served in the military.

Type of Work That Cannot Be Performed by a Minor:

Also, minors are restricted in the type of work they are allowed to do. Minors under 18 are prohibited from doing these kinds of work:

  • Work that involves or is around radioactive substances in or explosives
  • Work that involves the operation of a motor vehicle
  • Logging or sawmill work
  • Work that involves operating power equipment used in meat or other food processing, such as slicers, grinders, choppers, etc.; or any work related to slaughtering of animals, meat packing, or rendering
  • Work on ladders, scaffolding, or roofs or ladders higher than 6 feet, or any roofing work
  • Excavation or demolition
  • Mining
  • Work involving the operation of power-driven baker equipment
  • Metal work involving forming, punching, or shearing machines
  • Doing woodworking, manufacturing of paper products, or using hoisting machines
  • Brick and tile manufacturing
  • Operating power equipment including circular saws, band saws, and guillotine shears
  • Work involving compressed gases exceeding 40 p.s.i.
  • Work that takes place around toxic substances, pesticides, or corrosives
  • Firefighting
  • Electrical work
  • Operating or working on large tractors over 20 PTO horsepower, forklifts, earth moving equipment; operating agricultural equipment such as harvesting machines used for plowing, planting, or harvesting, or any other moving machinery

Further employment restrictions apply to minors ages 14 and 15:

  • Any work involving the operation of power equipment (not including office equipment)
  • Maintenance and repair of, machines, equipment, or maintenance of an establishment
  • Work in freezers or meat coolers
  • Any work involving power equipment used in food processing, such as meat or vegetable slicers, food choppers, cutters, grinders, and the type of power mixers used in bakeries, including set-up repair, and operation of the equipment
  • Operating motor vehicles
  • Working in occupations involving mining, manufacturing, or processing
  • Cooking and baking, with some exceptions
  • Working in jobs related to transportation, warehouse and storage, communications, or construction (other than office jobs)
  • Working in boiler rooms or engine rooms
  • Loading and unloading trucks
  • Messenger or courier work
  • Handling certain dangerous animals
  • Door-to-door sales
  • Any job involving spray painting

Get a Head Start on Your Search

Bottom line—you need to find age-appropriate work, which is fairly restrictive, so it is a good idea to try to line up a summer job well in advance. Do your research and find out which businesses in your area meet the guidelines. Retail, child care, and hospitality are good starting points for young job hunters in Florida. Happy hunting!

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