Can a 17 year old work at a construction site?

With the shortage of construction labor (skilled and unskilled) in Florida and the beginning of the summer, construction employers are looking at any and all available labor sources. Is your company looking to hire a high schooler this summer?  Before your construction company hires a 16 or 17-year-old to work, make sure your company reviews the Florida child labor rules and federal restrictions because there are several hazardous occupations that cannot be performed by a minor. Here is a quick review of what construction companies need to know about child labor for the summer (school is out).

  1. No work permit is required n Florida.
  2. School is not in session so there is no limit on the number of hours a 17-year-old can work per day.  However, no more than 6 consecutive days in any one week.
  3. Minors must be given a 30-minute uninterrupted break every 4 hours.
  4. If under 18 years old, a minor may not do the following hazardous activities:
    • operating a motor vehicle;
    • working on scaffolding, roofs or ladders above 6 feet
    • demolition or excavation work
    • operating a circular saw or band saw
    • working with compressed gasses exceeding 40 p.s.i.
    • working around toxic substances, corrosives or pesticides
    • working with electrical apparatus or wiring
    • Operating earthmoving equipment, forklifts or any moving machinery

What if the child labor regulations are violated? Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) the penalties for violating a child labor restriction is subject to a penalty of $11,000 per violation.  Under Florida law, a violation is subject to a fine of $2,500 per offense and/or be guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor.  In addition, if an injured minor is employed in violation of any provision of the child labor laws, an employer is subject to up to double the compensation otherwise payable under Florida’s workers’ compensation law.  If minors are employed, an employer must also post the federal and Florida child labor poster in a conspicuous place on the property, or place of employment, where it may be easily read.

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