HomeBusinessFlorida’s Linda Chaney proposes rollback to child labor laws
Florida’s Linda Chaney proposes rollback to child labor laws
September 20, 2023
A Florida lawmaker is pushing to lift restrictions on the number of hours teens can work, which could see16- and 17-year-olds working overnight shifts — even when school is in session.
Rep. Linda Chaney, a Republican, proposed amending the Sunshine State’s child labor laws that prevent 16- and 17-year-olds from working before 6:30 a.m. or after 11 p.m.
The bill, filed in the House on Monday, would also lift restrictions that prevent those teens from working no more than eight hours when school is scheduled the next day, or more than 30 hours a week during the school year.
“Minors 16 and 17 years of age may be employed, permitted or suffered to work the same number of hours as a person who is 18 years of age or older,” Chaney’s bill, dubbed HB 49, says.
Those regulation rollbacks could see older teens working late into the night and in the early hours of the morning whether or not they have to attend school later that same day.
The state’s Republican-controlled House will take up the proposal during the 2024 legislative session, which begins in January.
Should the bill pass, it will take effect on July 1, 2024.
Representatives for Chaney did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
Bureau of Labor Statistics data for December 2022 also showed that Florida had 9.7 million employed workers — the first time in the federal agency’s history that the state’s workforce was larger than New York’s, which stood at 9.6 million at the end of 2022.
Chaney’s campaign website touts that her “top priority” is “to revive and bolster our local economy by lowering taxes, cutting regulations and promoting vocation and skills training to help displaced workers find new jobs.”
However, Chaney also appears to champion education, and boasts on her site that she serves on the board of Pinellas County Schools, which represents 150 schools for over 100,000 students in PreK through grade 12.
“The key to a successful future is having access to a good quality education. We’ll provide students with world-class public education by putting parents and teachers in charge,” Chaney says on her site.
If successful, Florida would join Arkansas, Iowa, New Jersey and New Hampshire as states that have recently passed legislation to lift restrictions on child labor.
Critics slammed Florida’s initiative, claiming the proposed changes to the labor laws would makes it easier for employers to take advantage of vulnerable youths.
In the past year, investigations revealed that a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor employed children as young as 12 at a Montgomery, Ala., metal stamping plant.
In an even more disturbing revelation, the Labor Department found that 13-year-old children were being put to work at a Nebraska slaughterhouse after being hired by a cleaning company owned by billionaire Stephen Schwarzman’s buyout firm Blackstone.
Shocking images — released by the Labor Department during a segment on “60 Minutes” in May — showed children wearing protective glasses, hard hats, gloves and water-wicking jackets while carrying buckets and other tools while working for Packers Sanitation Services Inc. (PSSI) at a meat processing plant in Grand Island, Neb.
The kids likely washed bloody floors and razor-sharp machines, like back saws, head splitters and brisket saws, with potent chemicals and hot water, an investigator for the federal agency told “60 Minutes” anchor Scott Pelley.