HomeFlorida NewsBill called "child labor" by opponents signed by Governor DeSantis after substantial...

Bill called “child labor” by opponents signed by Governor DeSantis after substantial amendments


Florida – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a significant piece of legislation last week, on Friday, which was labeled as a “child labor” bill by its opponents during this year’s legislative session. The bill (HB 49) underwent substantial modifications before reaching the governor’s desk, leading to a more favorable reception from labor advocates.

Adjustments to Employment Regulations for Minors

The initial proposals of HB 49 sparked considerable debate for allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to work more than 40 hours a week and over eight hours a day without mandated breaks. However, a crucial Senate amendment altered the bill’s course, softening its provisions to address concerns about the potential for exploitation and the well-being of young workers.

Under the revised law, which takes effect on July 1, 16- and 17-year-olds are restricted to working no more than 30 hours a week unless they have obtained parental permission. An exception is made for home-schooled and virtual school students, who are not required to seek such permission. Additionally, the legislation sets a limit on working more than eight hours a day if the minor has school the next day, except on Sundays or holidays. It also mandates a 30-minute break for every four hours worked during shifts that exceed eight hours, ensuring that young workers have time to rest and recuperate.

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This legislative change was part of the last-day session drama in early March, where it, along with another bill concerning employment regulations (HB 433), delayed the adjournment of the 2024 legislative session due to disputes over preemption measures for municipalities.

Beyond HB 49, Governor DeSantis signed 25 other bills into law on Friday. Among these were measures granting the governor authority to deploy the Florida State Guard out of state, permanently banning the substance known as “gas station heroin,” and requiring all inmates in the state prison system to submit DNA samples if they hadn’t already done so.

The journey of HB 49 from a contentious “child labor” bill to a law with modified provisions highlights the complex legislative process and the balance between protecting young workers and offering them employment opportunities. As the new regulations set in, the impact on Florida’s youth and their employers will be closely monitored.

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