January 30, 2024

Statement from Florida Policy Institute on Senate Committee Passage of SB 1596

FPI released the statement below following passage of SB 1596 by the Florida Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee.

SB 1596 rolls back critical labor protections for youth, putting their well-being and education at risk. It would allow employers to schedule 16- and 17-year olds for more than six days in a row, more than eight hours on Sundays and holidays before school days, and without breaks — even when school is in session. It would also cut 16- and 17-year-old home- and virtual-school students out of all existing hour and curfew laws.

A recent FPI analysis found that roughly 80,000 teens aged 16- and 17- are currently employed in Florida, with three out of four also juggling school. The bill would disproportionately impact Florida teens from families with low income and immigrant youth, who would be less able to turn down additional hours.

Moreover, while proponents of the bill have promoted SB 1596 as a measure that would empower Florida teens and parents, employers would be the true beneficiaries, as they hold the power to schedule youth workers. Under current law, the youth and their parents are the ones to decide if they wish to apply for a waiver to child labor laws; by weakening protections, the bill shifts power to employers. The current process and laws work and should be maintained.

FPI, along with 99 organizations across the state, sent a letter to legislative leaders urging them not to support these harmful measures.

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