Florida’s workers’ compensation laws are in place ostensibly to benefit both the employee and the employer in case there is an injury or death while on-the-job. For the employee, the law provides compensation if they become disabled or injured while working. For the employer, the fear of litigation is generally removed, unless there was an especially dangerous situation that the employer knew about and tried to hide. The threshold is very high for an employee to successfully sue their boss, thanks to former Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature in 2003.
Minors (employees under the age of 18) are no different in qualifying for workers’ compensation benefits than adults, except in a few instances. If legally employed, when a minor is injured or disabled while on the clock or in the workplace, they will be entitled to the same benefits such as lost wages and compensation for medical bills.
Under Florida laws regarding minors, there are restrictions on where a child can work. For example, they cannot work around radioactive materials. The child cannot work slaughtering meat or in meat packing and processing plant, in logging or in a sawmill, or around brick and tile making, on a demolition crew, in mining, around power-driven meat or vegetable slicing machines, or operating heavy machinery, among other restrictions.
If a minor is injured in the workplace and the child was employed in violation of the state’s child labor laws, the employer may be subject to pay double the compensation if the child is disabled or killed on-the-job than the standard benefit for an adult. In addition, the employer can be charged with a criminal offense and face a fine of up to $11,000 per minor/per violation.
If your child has been injured on the job in Florida, or you are a minor who believes a dangerous workplace led to your injury, you will need an experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorney who is also knowledgeable about employment law and specifically child labor laws to pursue your right to compensation for an injury or death.