Florida Passes Bill Easing Work Restrictions for Teens

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Florida lawmakers have given their approval to a bill (HB 49) that seeks to relax work restrictions for 16- and 17-year-olds, setting the stage for it to reach Governor Ron DeSantis for the final nod. Despite initial controversy, the bill maintains certain limits, such as a 30-hour work week during the school year.

However, it introduces provisions allowing parents, guardians, or school superintendents to waive this limit. Furthermore, the legislation permits teens to work beyond eight hours on Sundays and holidays when a school day follows.

Critics of the bill argue that it could adversely affect students’ education, potentially leading to increased distractions and higher rates of school absenteeism, especially if students engage in more than 30 hours of work per week during the academic term.

On the other side, proponents, including groups like the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, contend that the changes offer greater flexibility for certain 16- and 17-year-olds engaged in the workforce.

Florida Passes Bill Easing Work Restrictions for Teens

The bill’s passage comes after modifications were made to address some concerns. Originally, critics feared that the legislation could exploit minors to address labour shortages, particularly in industries facing challenges related to the availability of immigrant workers.

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The final version has been seen as a toned-down compromise. Florida Policy Institute CEO Sadaf Knight acknowledged that the current version doesn’t pose the same level of risk to Florida’s youth as the original proposal.

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