February 14, 2024

Testimony on HB 917 Before Florida House Committee on Education and Employment

The testimony below was provided during the Florida House Education and Employment Committee meeting on House Bill (HB) 917, legislation related to career and technical education.

We appreciate that the bill sponsor has been open to amendments. However, without making it clear that teens cannot work anywhere near a roof, including handling materials on the ground, we cannot support this bill. Referencing the federal Fair Labor Standards Act in HB 917 is a welcome addition, but it does not resolve our concerns that teens could be working anywhere near roofing or other hazardous jobs. This is because there are already gaps between federal and state child labor laws, so it’s important to make sure Florida teens are protected, regardless of the size of the construction company they may work for.  

To be covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, a company must make more than $500,000 a year; the most recent Census data shows that there are 35,067 construction companies in Florida who have less than $500,000 in receipts. Thus, a majority of Florida’s nearly 63,000 construction enterprises are not necessarily bound by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act mentioned in HB 917.

So, it is imperative that any changes to Florida's ban on teens working in residential construction makes it clear that no Florida employer can hire teens to work in hazardous roles (including helping with roofing jobs on the ground), to include employers who may be exempt from federal child labor laws.

As it stands, HB 917 leaves too much open for interpretation. Therefore, the teens in construction provision must be amended. Until then, we urge you to vote NO.

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