Florida’s Wage Laws
Employers determine overtime pay based on how much an employee makes whether it be minimum wage or a higher hourly rate. The minimum wage in Florida is a few dollars higher than the federal minimum wage, with the rate held at $10.00. For reference, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. In addition, the mandatory cash wage for tipped employees in Florida is $6.98 an hour. These numbers will also increase throughout the following years, likely at a dollar a year. Florida citizens voted to implement these adjustments in November 2020, when they passed Amendment 2.
A vote for Amendment 2 meant that Florida residents supported increasing their state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour. A vote against Amendment 2 would have kept the state minimum wage at $8.56 an hour. In addition, Amendment 2 also promised to gradually bring Florida’s minimum wage to $16 an hour by 2026. This Amendment was generally favored, with the majority of voters (60.82%) preferring to increase the salary than to keep it unaltered.
Working for Overtime Pay
While the minimum wage for standard hours is $10, any employee who works overtime is legally entitled to increased compensation. In Florida, overtime pay is also known as “time-and-a-half pay” because employees earn 1.5x their hourly rate for every overtime worked. Overtime is generally applied when an employee’s work exceeds 40 hours a week. For manual laborers, working past 10 hours in a single day renders them eligible for overtime during those extra hours.
According to guidelines set by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), many occupations qualify to receive overtime payments. Manual laborers such as construction workers, cashiers, truck drivers, and plumbers receive protection under overtime pay laws. All first responders such as paramedics, nurses, and firefighters are also covered. According to Labor law resources, this is because first response occupations often have demanding schedules, and employers may overwork their employees otherwise.
Overtime Pay Exceptions
On the other hand, certain groups are exempt from overtime pay. According to Florida regulations, four primary categories of jobs are exempt from overtime pay.
An executive position is one in which the primary, full-time responsibility of the worker is to manage two or more employees. Workers who hold an executive position cannot spend over 20% of their working hours engaging in other activities, and this limit rises to 40% for executives in the retail industry. Executive positions must also be salaried.
An administrative position is one in which the primary work is handling business operations, administrative training, or management policies. This work must also be non-manual. Like executive positions, workers who hold an administrative role cannot spend over 20% of their working hours engaging in other activities, and 40% for administrative workers in the retail industry. In addition, workers must be salaried.
A professional position is one in which the worker’s primary duties require extensive education and expertise in the field. Such fields include jobs such as accredited teachers and computer professionals. The professional requires a profound use of intellect, judgment, and understanding. Workers in a professional position cannot spend over 20% of their working hours engaging in other activities.
Outside Sales Positions:
An outside sales position is one in which the primary responsibilities occur outside the immediate workplace, such as the main office. Outdoor sales workers often handle making sales or taking orders from customers. Workers in an outside sales position cannot spend over 20% of their working hours engaging in other activities. They can receive payment in either a salaried or commission-based structure.
Aside from the four main categories, farmworkers on small farms, babysitters, and certain other groups are also exempt from overtime pay. One should speak with their HR representative if they are unsure whether their position is exempt.
Suing an Employer for Withholding or Refusing Pay
Employees may sometimes feel that their employer has violated the state’s wage laws. The employee can bring a civil suit against their employer under such circumstances. One can find the steps for filing a civil lawsuit against their employer below:
- In writing, the employee must notify the employer that they will be bringing a civil suit. The written notice must clearly state the wages that the employer neglected and the corresponding dates and hours that were left unpaid. According to Florida Statutes 95.11, the employee has two (2) years from the date of the overtime pay violation to take action.
- Once the employer has received the written notice, they have 15 calendar days to make one of two decisions. The employer can either pay the employee the total compensation that is due or resolve the dispute with the employee. The employer can try to resolve the dispute by paying back a lesser sum of money than what the notice claims.
- Finally, if the employee is unsatisfied with the attempted resolutions, they can bring their claim to court. A judge will then determine whether the employee is entitled to compensation and, if so, how much money is due. The employee must provide evidence proving that they worked on the said days, which hours they worked, and that those hours were unpaid.
The employer may be required to compensate for unpaid wages, partial attorney fees, and liquidated damages if the judge rules in favor of the employee.
However, the judge may rule in favor of the employer if the defense provides a strong argument that the actions were in good faith. In this case, the judge can eliminate or reduce the number of liquidated damages.
Contact Pride Legal
If you or a loved one are due overtime pay, or an employer is violating wage and hour laws, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.