With more than one million licensees throughout the state, it is no secret that DBPR has an impact, directly or indirectly, on Florida’s citizens, consumers and visitors. One area that we regulate and that many people may not know that we regulate is child labor. DBPR’s role is to ensure that employers who employ minors are following the law and helping to ensure a positive work experience for Florida’s youngest professionals.
Sometimes, child labor inspectors may find violations at Florida companies where minors forget to punch their time card appropriately and it appears the kids aren’t getting the proper uninterrupted breaks, and in that instance, the employers receive a warning and the inspector will return for a follow up to ensure they are in compliance from that point forward. Other times, though, inspectors may find egregious violations where children are being exploited by a company that is not legitimate in order to make a profit by using youngsters to solicit their product.
As consumers, it’s important to know what to look for when solicited by minors so that we may all do our part in reporting possible instances of child exploitation and violations of child labor laws. Firstly, pay attention to age - a child under the age of 14 cannot be employed except as allowed under the provisions of Florida law. Also, parents should be extremely cautious - they should either know the adult supervisor(s) personally or obtain proper identification and contact information from the adult supervisor. Parents should be told exactly where the child will be taken to engage in the canvassing activity. Anyone solicited by children attempting to sell them items should carefully observe whether there is an adult supervisor in the child’s line-of-sight. Lastly, children recruited into exploitative organizations usually wear the same shirts or safety vests and may look tired or exhausted and they may request some food or water.
Minors employed with legitimate companies or non-profits wear a Tax ID Badge. Tax ID information can be used to look-up whether the company is listed as a Non-Profit Corporation on the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations at http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/ByFeiNumber. Homeowners may also want access to this information for confirmation when they are solicited. The local Better Business Bureau office is a great place to obtain information about a business or company.
If you have suspicion about a situation or organization, you should always contact local law enforcement to take precautions and help ensure the children are safe. Having the opportunity of employment at a young age is something I personally found valuable as I was growing up and rest assured that DBPR is doing its part to ensure employers are in compliance with Florida law.
Department of Business and
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
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