Photo: Shutterstock/song_about-summer
Employment and Labor

2024 Proposed Bills Affecting Florida Public and Private Employers

2024 Proposed Bills Affecting Florida Public and Private Employers

The 2024 Florida Legislative Session is officially in full swing. Below is a list of proposed bills that, if passed, may affect employers moving forward. The Employment team at RumbergerKirk will continue to monitor all legislation and provide updates so employers can make informed decisions. Read insights from RumbergerKirk’s Employment team www.rumberger.com to stay up to date on all of your employment needs.

Invalid Restrictive Covenants in Health Care

Both Florida’s House of Representatives and the Senate have proposed similar bills relating to restrictive covenants. Currently in Florida, restrictive covenants are allowed and governed by existing Florida Statutes. Several years back, a group of specialty physicians passed a special law that provided exceptions to certain non-compete and restrictive covenants in specialty areas. These bills propose to broaden that carve out for additional health care providers and seek ban certain restrictive covenants relating to certain licensed physicians.

Click the link for HB11 and SB458 to follow the House and Senate’s latest action on this bill.

Employment of Minors

UPDATE on HB49 and SB1596 February 8, 2024: The Florida House passed this controversial bill to extend 16 and 17 years old work longer hours during the school year. The House’s bill allows 16- and 17-year-olds to work more than eight hours in a day, even if school is the next day, or more than 30 hours a week when school is in session. It also eliminates the requirement for breaks every four hours of work.

Both Florida’s House of Representatives and the Senate have proposed similar bills relating to the employment of minors. This has become a controversial bill because it proposes to eliminate certain employment restrictions for minors that are 16 and 17 years old when school is scheduled for the next day. Presently, 16 and 17 years (1) are not allowed to be employed before 6:30 am or after 11:00 pm, (2) are not allowed to work more than 8 hours in any one day when school is scheduled the following day and, (3) when school is in session, are not allowed to work more than 30 hours in any one week. The proposed changes provide that 16 and 17 years olds (1) are not allowed to be employed before 6:00 am instead of 6:30 am when school is scheduled the following day and (2) delete the restriction that the minors cannot work more than 30 hours in any one week when school is in session. Similar measures have been adopted by 24 other states. This could increase opportunities for 16 and 17 year olds to work and allow more opportunities for employers to employ 16 and 17 year olds who want to enter the workforce.

Supporters argue that it creates opportunities for those already working beyond 30 hours. Opponents claim it hinders students’ education, increases student absenteeism or dropout rates, and exploits children for cheap labor. The Senate has approved a version of the bill, but with some limitations. Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, who expressed support for the Senate version, emphasized the importance of parental consent and not sacrificing education time.

Click the link for HB49 and SB1596 to follow the House and Senate’s latest action on this bill.

Paid Parental Leave

Both Florida’s House of Representatives and the Senate have proposed similar bills relating to paid parental leave. We have seen several different versions of this bill in the past few years. This proposed bill is limited to state workers who have been career service employees for a specified time period. If passed, this law would prohibit the State from requiring an employee to use annual sick leave. If passed, there is the possibility that this bill could be a gateway to paid parental leave for other state agencies, political subdivisions, and private employers.

Click the link for HB127 and SB128to follow the House and Senate’s latest action on this bill.

Gender Identity Employment Practices

Both Florida’s House of Representatives and the Senate have proposed similar bills relating to gender identity in the workplace. Similar to the Stop Woke Act, this bill if passed would (1) prohibit employees from being required to use, from providing, and from being asked to provide certain titles and pronouns; (2) prohibit employees from being penalized for not providing certain titles and pronouns; (3) prohibits adverse personal action on the basis of deeply held religious or biology-based beliefs; and (4) provides administrative and civil remedies. This bill if passed, could potentially put employers in a difficult situation as such law would like conflict with federal law. If passed, there is a likelihood it would be challenged and enjoined like the Stop Woke Act.

Click the link for HB599 and SB1382 to follow the House and Senate’s latest action on this bill.

Prohibited Discrimination Based on Hairstyle, aka The Crown Act

Both Florida’s House of Representatives and the Senate have proposed similar bills prohibiting discrimination based on hairstyles. Dubbed the “Crown Act,” this bill proposes to protect against discrimination on natural hairstyles in the Florida K-12 public education system and provides that the term “race” includes hairstyles as another protected category.

Click the link for HB643 and SB686 to follow the House and Senate’s latest action on this bill.

Military Leave of Absence

Florida’s House of Representatives proposed a bill that provides certain public officials, including school boards, to provide full pay for the first ninety days of military leave.

Click the link for HB765 to follow the House’s latest action on this bill.

Expanding Autonomy for Certified Psychiatric Nurses in the Workplace

Both Florida’s House of Representatives and the Senate have proposed similar bills aimed at expanding what advanced practice registered nurses can do on their own. This bill aims to address the expected shortage of health care providers in the future.

Click the link HB771 and SB936 to follow the House and Senate’s latest action on this bill.

Expanding Autonomy for Mental Health Professionals in the Workplace

Florida’s House of Representatives proposed a bill that is aimed at expanding what existing mental health professionals can do on their own in light of the expected shortage of health care providers in the future.

Click the link HB827 to follow the House’s latest action on this bill.

Employment Leave for Crime Victims and Witnesses

Florida’s House of Representatives proposed a bill that would provide unpaid leave to crime victims, their family members, and witnesses to crimes. As written, there is no distinction for the size of the employer, the employee must give ten days’ notice, there is no cap on the leave, and no distinction is made between part-time and full-time employees. An employer cannot retaliate or discriminate against an employee for using the leave. If passed, there is concern this bill would not be feasible for many small employers.

Click the link HB839 to follow the House’s latest action on this bill.

Defining Biological Sex in the Workplace

Florida’s House of Representatives proposed a bill that would likely influence the Florida Civil Rights Act to change its definition of “sex” to be determined by what is on an employee’s birth certificate. This could potentially create an inconsistency between Title VII and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s position on what is “sex.”

Click the link HB1233 to follow the House’s latest action on this bill.

Protections for Public Employers Who Use Medical Marijuana as Qualified Patients

Florida’s Senate proposed a bill prohibiting a public employer from taking adverse personnel action against an employee or a job applicant who uses medical marijuana and creates a private cause of action if employers violate this proposed law. At the time of publication, it does not have carve outs for safety intensive work. This law may create a conflict between employer’s obligations under federal law to maintain a drug-free workplace.

Click the link SB166 to follow the Senate’s latest action on this bill.