Wage and hour laws are put in place to ensure employers and employees are aware of their rights and responsibilities in the workplace.
All workers in Florida are entitled to a minimum wage of $6.4 per hour. This changes at the start of every year depending on the rate inflation. Florida law requires employers to inform their employees about these changes, failure to which they will face a penalty.
Overtime laws in Florida
Florida wage and hour laws state that for employees who work on a daily, weekly, or yearly basis, a legal day should be 10 hours long. Additional pay must be given to individuals who work more than ten hours unless an agreement was signed specifying that a legal day could be more or less than that by a certain number of hours. A Florida-based attorney such as Mark J. Berkowitz, P.A. can help you understand the work contracts you are presented with before putting pen to paper.
For those who work on an hourly basis, normal pay applies for only 40 hours a week. If a worker puts in more than 40 hours, they are entitled to overtime pay for the extra hours. The rate for overtime pay in Florida is half the regular rate.
Issues that lead to wage and hour claims
- Tips – Some employers pay workers less than the $6.40 hourly minimum wage, as long as the tips add up to make up for the deficit. The law is clear on the maximum reduction they can make regardless of the tips you have accumulated.
- Breaks – Florida and federal laws do not compel employers to give breaks to their employees who are 18 years or older. Any breaks allowed that are less than 20 minutes must be paid breaks. On the contrary, workers under 18 years should be given 30-minute meal breaks every four hours. During those breaks, no work should be done at all.
- Schedules – Full-time employees in Florida must be guaranteed a minimum of 35 hours a week while part-time employees should get at least ten. If you receive less in more than one occasion, you would be within your rights to file an hour and wage claim.
Some employers violate wage laws deliberately because they know most workers do not know their rights. More to the point, even if an employee forwarded a complaint, it would be extremely difficult to determine if the employer truly owes them money. To help skeptical employees determine if they have overtime or unpaid wage claim, some law firms have comprehensive questionnaires that you are only supposed to fill out and submit. From your answers, they can tell if you have a legit claim or not.
If your lawyer confirms you are being exploited, do not hesitate to get in touch with the Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security. Note that there is a time limit for when you can file an hour and wage claim. Be sure not to leave it late as you may easily fail to beat the deadline.