Are you a teen looking for a summer job? There are a few legal limitations that you need to be aware of before applying. The Fair Labor Standards Act is the federal law controlling child labor. The FLSA sets a baseline standard for age minimums and hours worked by minors; states cannot go below this baseline. A business must comply with both state and federal child labor law and regulations, they must follow the stricter of the two standards.
Youth Minimum Age and Wage
According to the Department of Labor, 14 is the minimum age to work at most non-agricultural jobs, although there are some exceptions. These include:
- Delivering newspapers
- Acting in movies or TV
- Working at a parent-owned business (unless your business is mining coal)
- Minor chores around a private home
Under federal law, a 12-year-old can legally start mowing lawns or babysitting the neighbors’ kids for some summer money.
The federal youth minimum wage is $4.25 per hour, and teens can be paid this wage for the first 90 calendar days of their employment. After the 90-day period, a working teen is legally entitled to earn a summer paycheck at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. However, in Florida, the current (2019) state minimum wage is $8.45 per hour. Since the Florida rate is higher, you are entitled to earn this rate.
Teens between the ages of 14 and 17 are not allowed to work in jobs that the government has deemed hazardous. Hazardous jobs include: manufacturing plants; with hazardous chemicals or substances; in construction; where they need to drive a motorized vehicle; or with power tools. Teens, however, are generally free to work in retail, food establishments, offices, and gas stations.
Florida law restricts child labor for minors 14 to 17 years of age and prohibits employment of children under 14, with some limited exceptions. Both the FLSA and Florida law restrict when and how many hours minors under 16 years old may work.
Minors 16 – 17 may work up to 30 hrs/wk. Not before 6:30 am or later than 11 pm and for no more than 8 hours a day when school is scheduled the following day. On days when school does not follow, there are no hour restrictions. When school is not in session, there are no limitations. Employers are limited to no more than 6 consecutive days in any one week.
Florida teens aged 14 – 15 can work up to 15 hrs/wk. Not before 7 am or after 8 pm and for no more than 3 hrs a day on school days, when a school day follows. They may work up to 8 hrs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and on non-school days, when school days do not follow until 9 pm. When school is not in session, they may work up to 8 hrs per day and up to 40 hrs per week. See the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for additional limitations on times and dates.
If you work in agriculture, on a farm, (not your parent’s farm), you are restricted as in other jobs. The exception occurs with 12 and 13 year-olds. They may be employed with written parental consent or on a farm where the minor’s parent is also employed; minors under 12 may be employed with written parental consent on farms where employees are exempt from the Federal minimum wage provisions.
You are required by law to verify that your age is above 14 years prior to working. The employer may request birth certificates, social security card, school photo ID with a birthdate and issue date, passport, or a driver’s license/ learner’s permit. So before you start the summer job hunt, double check with the Florida Department of Labor and find out just what you’ll need.