For many teenagers, having a summer or part-time job is a right of passage. No matter why a teenager is working, there are important laws that businesses must follow when employing a minor. Child labor law is very strict both on the federal and state level. If a business owner breaks child labor law, they run the risk of fines, shut downs, and even jail time.
Fair Labor and Standards Act
The Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA) outlines laws governing the employment of minors. The FLSA is a federal law that outlines minimum wage, overtime pay, child employment standards, and recordkeeping. Although the FLSA is a federal law, it is imposed onto the state and local laws as a minimum standard. The FLSA allows for state and local jurisdictions to enact laws that give more rights to employees. For example, states have the option to establish a minimum wage higher than the federal mandate.
What Does FLSA Say About Employing Minors?
According to FLSA, businesses cannot employ minors under the age of 14. However, there are exceptions, such as a family farm, child actors, newspaper delivery, or private chores. Private chores include tasks such as babysitting, cutting grass, or shoveling snow. Minors from 14 to 16 can work in certain occupations for a limited number of hours. Those hours must not interfere with the minor’s school hours. The FLSA allows minors between 16 and 18 to work unlimited hours in non-hazardous occupations. Florida child labor laws do differ from FLSA. They put restrictions on working hours and occupation type for minors between 14 and 17.
What Are Some of the Working Restrictions?
Florida child labor laws and the FLSA limit the time and hours minors may work during school sessions. Minors under 16 cannot work before 7 am or after 7 pm if the next day is a school day. During the school week, the work must be limited to three hours or less, unless there is no school the next day. Additionally, minors cannot work more than eighteen hours a week. During the summer and winter break, minors are allowed to work until 9 pm, no more than eight hours a day, and no more than forty hours a week.
Whereas the FLSA does not limit the hours worked for minors older than 16, Florida child labor law has added protection for them. Under Florida law, minors between 16 and 17 may not work before 6:30 am or after 11 p.m. when there is school the next day. They may not work more than eight hours a day or thirty hours a week when school is in session. During the summer and winter breaks, however, Florida law does not make any restrictions on how many hours minors between 16 and 17 are allowed to work.
What are the Recordkeeping Requirements?
Both the FLSA and Florida child labor laws require employers to maintain records on every minor including proof of age, Additionally, child labor law posters must be placed in a conspicuous manner where the minor employee can access it for information to know about their rights and protections under the laws.
What Are the Penalties For Violating FLSA or Florida Child Labor Laws?
Under FLSA, if an employer is found to violate the law, they can be fined up to $11,000 per minor/per violation. Under Florida child labor law, the employer can be fined up to $2,500 per violation. The violations also might lead to a criminal penalty – asecond-degree misdemeanor. Furthermore, under Florida law, if a minor is injured at work while a violation of either the FLSA or Florida child labor laws were occurring, then the employer might have to pay double compensation under the Florida Workers’ Compensation law.
If you are a business that employees minors or are thinking about employing a minor, please contact our law firm for a consultation. We will help ensure you are following all applicable laws.