Florida child labor laws regulate the employment of youth in the state of Florida. These laws dictate the ages and the times as well as the types of work they may perform. Generally, speaking children 13 years old or younger may not work in Florida, except in some limited situations. Youth who are 14 and 15 years old may work in a broader range of jobs, but are significantly limited in the number of hours per day and per week they may work, especially when school is in session. Youth who are 16 and 17 years old may work in a broad range jobs, but cannot work in those jobs that have been explicitly deemed to be too hazardous. The detail of Florida’s child labor laws are discussed below.
- Definition of child or minor
- Proof of a child’s identity and age
- 13 years old and younger
- 14 and 15 year olds
- 16 and 17 year olds
- Establishments that sell alcoholic beverages
- Adult entertainment establishments
- Meal and breaks
- Safety Equipment
- Required Posting
- Right of access
- Employment of minors in the entertainment industry
- Penalties for violating Florida child labor laws
Definition of child or minor
Florida child labor laws define a child or minor as any person who is 17 years old or younger unless one of the following applies:
- the individual is or has been married;
- a court of competent jurisdiction has declared that the individual be treated as an adult;
- the individual is serving or has served in the United States Armed Forces;
- a count has determined that it is in the best interest of the individual to work as an adult and the court has approved the individual’s job, including the terms and conditions of the job; or
- the individual has graduated from high school or holds a high school equivalency diploma.
Proof of a child’s identity and age
Employers who employ individuals 17 years or younger, including those that are exempt from the definition of child or minor in Florida child labor laws as described above, must obtain and keep on record proof of the child’s age for the entire period the minor is employed. Employers may meet this required by obtaining and retaining:
- a photocopy of the minor’s birth certificate;
- a photocopy of the minor’s driver license;
- an age certificate issued by the school board of the district in which the child is employed which certifies the youth’s date of birth;
- a photocopy of a passport or visa which lists the child’s date of birth; or
- a photocopy of the minor’s identification card issued by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
13 years old and younger
Under Florida’s child labor laws, minors of any age may work in the following:
- as pages at the Florida Legislature;
- in the entertainment industry as regulated in Florida Statutes Florida Statutes 450.012(5) and 450.132;
- in domestic or farm work at their own homes or the farm or ranch where they live, during the hours they are not required to be in school;
- directly for their own parents or guardians, during the hours they are not required to be in school;
- in herding, tending, and managing livestock, during the hours they are not required to be in school.
Minors 10 years of age or younger may not sale or distribute newspapers. FL Statute 450.021(2)
Minors 13 years or younger many not be employed in any job at any time, except in those instances listed above. FL Statute 450.021(3)
Florida child labor laws have provisions specifically directed to 14 and 15 year olds, including restrictions on what times during a day 14 and 15 year olds may work, how many hours in a week they many work, and what jobs or occupations they may perform. For more information, visit our Florida Child Labor laws: 14 and 15 year olds page.
Florida child labor laws have provisions specifically directed to 16 and 17 year olds, including restrictions on what times during a day 16 and 17 year olds may work, how many hours in a week they many work, and what jobs or occupations they may perform. For more information, visit our Florida Child Labor laws: 16 and 17 year olds page.
Establishments that sell alcoholic beverages
Florida child labor laws prohibit any youth 17 years or younger, including those that are exempt from the definition of child or minor in Florida child labor laws as described above, from working in any place where alcoholic beverages are sold at retail, except:
- professional entertainers who are 17 years old and who are not in school;
- minors employed in the entertainment industry, who have been granted a waiver under Florida Statute 450.095, who are employed under the terms of Florida Statute 450.132, or who work under any other rules or regulations adopted by the state;
- minors who work in drugstores, grocery stores, department stores, florists, specialty gift shops, or automobile service stations which have a license to sell beer or beer and wine, when sales of the alcohol are made for consumption off premises;
- individuals who are 17 years of age who have graduated from high school or who are senior high school students with written permission from their principal who are employed by a bona fide food service establishment where alcoholic beverages are sold, provided that the individuals do not participate in the sale, preparation, or service of the beverages and their duties are of such a nature as to provide them with training and knowledge as might lead to further advancement in food service establishments;
- individuals working as bellhopps, elevator operators, and other in hotels when such employees are engaged in work apart from the portion of the hotel where alcoholic beverages are sold;
- individuals working in bowling alleys whether alcoholic beverages are sold or consumed, so long as the individuals do not participate in the sale, preparation, or service of the beverages;
- individuals working in a bona fide dinner theater, so long as their work is limited to the services of an actor, actress, or musician (a dinner theater is defined as a theater presenting consecutive productions playing no less than 3 weeks each in conjunction with dinner service on a regular basis where both events occur in the same room and the advertised price of admission includes both the cost of the meal and the attendance at the performance);
- individuals working for a vendor, club, caterer, or other business licensed under FL Statute 565.02(6), provided such persons do not participate in the sale, preparation, or service of alcoholic beverages.
Adult entertainment establishments
Florida child labor laws prohibit any youth 17 years or younger, including those that are exempt from the definition of child or minor in Florida child labor laws as described above, from being employed, permitted, or suffered to work in an adult theater as defined in Florida Statute 847.001(2)(b). FL Statute 450.021(5), FL Statute 562.13(2)(h)
Meal and breaks
Minors 17 years old or younger may not work for more than six (6) consecutive days in a week. FL Statute 450.081(3) Additionally, they must be provide at least a 30 minute break after having work four (4) continuous hours. Breaks of less than 30 minutes are not deemed to interrupt a continuous period of work. FL Statute 450.081(4)
In extenuating circumstances when it clearly appears to be in the child’s best interest, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation may grant a waiver or partial waiver of the child labor law restrictions. Waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis as determined by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation or a school district designee if the minor is enrolled in the public school system. FL Statute 450.095
To obtain a waiver or partial waiver, the minor, his or her parents, guardians or chaperon, or his or her employer must submit the form, Application for Waiver of Florida Child Labor Law, Form DBPR FCL 1002 (Rev. 2/93), along with supportive factual information and documentation justifying the waiver. If awarded, the waiver will specify the restrictions that are waived and will be valid for no longer than one year. Employers must keep a copy of the waiver on file for the entire time the minor is employed.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation or a school district designee if the minor is enrolled in the public school system considers all relevant information including:
- school status, including whether
- the minor will receive instruction from a tutor at the place of employment;
- the district school superintendent has authorized the minor to complete his or her education through other methods, such as home school;
- the minor has been permanently expelled from the public school system;
- the minor is enrolled in school in a foreign country and is visiting Florida while his or her school is not in session; or
- the work would provide the minor an educational, vocational, or public service experience that would be beneficial.
- whether compliance with the child labor restriction would cause an undue financial hardship for the minor or the minor’s immediate family. Documentation supporting a financial hardship waiver should include:
- a notarized letter from a parent, guardian, or other adult who can attest to the minor’s hardship explaining the circumstances creating the hardship;
- written confirmation from a recently-attended school;
- documentation for a social services agency; or
- verification of participation in AFDC, Food Stamp, Project Independence, or other similar programs.
- whether physical or mental medical hardship creates a need for the waiver. Documentation supporting a medical hardship waiver should include written confirmation from the minor’s physician stating the specific medical reasons the waiver from mandatory school attendance and affirming that the minor to excused from mandatory attendance may be allowed to work the requested hours or that the minor should be considered an adult for purposes of work hours;
- whether another type of hardship creates a need for the waiver; and
- whether there is a court order mandating that the minor work specific hours or in a specified occupation.
Employers must provide minors any safety equipment recognized as necessary in the industry and must instruct the minor on proper usage of the equipment. FL Admin. Code 61L-2.004
Employers who employ minors must post in a conspicuous place on their property or place of employment, a poster notifying minors of Florida’s child labor laws. A copy of the child labor laws poster may be found on Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation website.
Right of access
Florida child labor laws require employers to allow the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation enter and inspect at any time and any place the the files kept by employers and any other documents that may help in enforcing the Florida child labor laws. If an employer does not keep records at the location where youth work, they must produce the records to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation within two (2) workdays. FL Statute 450.121(2); FL Admin. Code 61L-2.008
Florida child labor laws allow youth of any age to work in the entertainment industry subject to several restrictions and limitations. For more information, visit our Florida Child Labor Laws – Entertainment Industry page.
Employers who violate Florida child labor laws may be subject to criminal charges as well as civil penalties up to $2,500. For more information, visit our Florida Child Labor laws: Penalties page.