What Is the Minimum Legal Age to Work in Florida?
The older teens are, the more opportunities they have
Although there are some exceptions, almost everywhere across the United States, young people can begin working at age 14 because that's what federal child labor laws state. However, child labor laws in each state may also indicate the minimum age to work and which permits they need to do so. When there is a conflict between federal and state laws, the more restrictive law will apply.
Working Guidelines for Teens in the Sunshine State
In Florida, teens do not need a child employment certificate to work, but they do need to show proof of age. There, 14- and 15-year-olds can work up to 15 hours per week, but not before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. and not more than three hours on school days when a school day follows. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays or non-school days, these teens may work up to eight hours. On non-school days when a school day doesn't follow, they can work up until 9 p.m.
When school isn't in session, 14- and 15-year-olds in Florida can work eight hours per day and up to 40 hours per week. During these breaks in the school year, they cannot work before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
Florida teens who are 16 and 17 years old may work up to 30 hours per week, but not before 6:30 a.m. and not after 11 p.m. and for no more than 8 hours when a school day follows. When a school day doesn't follow, these teens do not have a restriction on how many hours they can work in one day.
When school is not in session, 16 and 17-year-olds in Florida have no limitations on the hours they work.
Teens in both age brackets may not work more than six consecutive days per week. Juvenile workers must receive a 30-minute break after working four consecutive hours.
Jobs Available to Florida Teens
Florida teens are largely prohibited from working in dangerous jobs. For example, youth in the 14- to 15-year-old age bracket may not work in jobs that require them to operate power-driven machinery or motor vehicles. They may also not work in construction unless it's in a clerical capacity.
Meanwhile, youth in the 16- to 17-year-old age bracket cannot perform dangerous tasks on the job such as logging, firefighting or wrecking or demolition. They're also not allowed to work near hazardous substances such as pesticides or radioactive substances. They can't work with electrical apparatuses or wiring either. Finally, they may not work more than four hours without a break.
The Bottom Line
Before saying "yes" to a job opportunity, it's important for teens to check the law to make sure that they are legally allowed to work the number of hours their employer requires. For more information about working as a minor in Florida, visit the state labor website.