In Florida, business owners must be familiar with state and federal statutes that govern employment issues. Wage and hour laws, for example, dictate the minimum wage an employee may be paid and the maximum hours someone can work before becoming eligible for overtime pay. Staying on the right side of these laws can prevent employers from facing costly and time-consuming litigation.
Minimum Wage in Florida
In Florida, the minimum wage an employer may pay a worker is $8.05 per hour, which is above the federal rate of $7.25 an hour. The law states that people eligible under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act for the federal minimum wage are eligible for the state minimum wage.
Minimum Wage of Tipped Workers: Florida allows employers to claim as much as $3.02 an hour in tip credit, which means that the minimum wage a tipped worker can earn is $5.03 an hour. The employee’s earnings must always total at least the state minimum wage of $8.05 an hour once tips are included, or else the business must make up the difference.
Does Minimum Wage Apply to Me: The people exempted from the minimum wage in Florida are the same as those outlined by the federal law. Therefore, some agriculture workers, babysitters, disabled workers and employees that work for certain recreational or seasonal businesses may be exempt. Further, executives and other professionals who earn a salary and some salespeople who work on commission may be exempt. More information on minimum wage exemptions may be viewed at the Fair Labor Standards Act.
When Are Raises Required: Unless there is an agreement in place between the employee and employer in Florida, there is no law that states companies must give workers raises.
Work Hours in Florida
Florida defaults to the Fair Labor Standards Act when it comes to employees’ work hours. By federal law, most people must receive overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours over the course of one week.
Paying Overtime: Someone who works more than 40 hours in a week must be paid one and one-half times the regular hourly wage for each hour worked over 40 hours. The federal law makes no adjustments for people who work weekends or holidays, unless those hours put the employee at more than 40 hours. Exemptions to overtime include most high-level professionals who earn a salary.
Guaranteed Breaks and Meals: In Florida, the only people who are guaranteed a break during the workday are nursing mothers and those who are younger than 18 and work more than four consecutive hours. Workers younger than 18 are required to take a 30-minute meal break.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act states for the first year after a child’s birth, employers have to give a break to a nursing mother so she can pump. Further, the employer must provide a space other than a bathroom for the mother to use.
Paid Time Off and Sick Pay: No state or federal law requires employers in Florida to provide workers with either paid or unpaid vacation or paid or unpaid sick time. However, employees who have an agreement with an employer regarding this time off are allowed to legally enforce it.
Notice Period for Employee Termination: As an at-will employment state, Florida dictates that a company can fire a worker at any time and for any reason. There is no law that demands that employees receive a specific notice of that termination.
Plant Closings & Layoffs: The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act governs plant closings and layoffs in Florida. Businesses that must abide by this law are those that have 100 full-time workers or more, or at least 100 workers who put in a combined 4,000 hours or more every week. These companies must give 60 days’ notice of a layoff that affects at least 33 percent of the workforce. Additionally, 60 days’ notice must be given if a qualified business is going to close a plant.
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