Florida Employment Law—Minimum Wage, Overtime, and Leave Entitlement

This article considers Florida employment and labor laws governing minimum wage and hours, overtime and medical leave.

Florida Minimum Wage

The Florida minimum wage of $6.79 per hour ($3.77 per hour for employees who receive tips as part of their earnings) is higher than the federal standard of $6.55 per hour. (July, 2008). A new minimum wage takes effect in Florida on January 1 of each year.

An employee in Florida who has not received the legal minimum wage should notify his or her employer of that fact. If the employer fails to resolve the situation within 15 days, the employee can bring a civil action to recover back wages, any damages, and attorney fees. An employer found liable for intentionally violating the minimum wage requirements in Florida may be subject to a fine of $1,000 per violation.

Florida Overtime Laws

Florida overtime laws require that any worker putting in more than 40 hours in one week must be paid time and a half (one and one half times the regular rate of pay) for any extra hours. Some occupations and industries, however, are exempt from Florida overtime laws. These mirror federal exempted industries and include computer and administrative employees, executive and outside sales employees, and highly compensated or salaried workers.

Florida Family and Medical Leave

In addition to minimum wage and overtime rules, Florida complies with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Although FMLA leave is unpaid, Florida employers under the federal regulations have to allow workers in companies with 50 employees or more to return to their same jobs or comparable positions once the period of leave has ended. Florida law offers “career service” public servants or state employees up to 6 months of leave for parental or family medical reasons.

Where to Go for Help

If you believe you have been wrongly denied wages or overtime pay in violation of federal and Florida state laws, you have recourse through the federal Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. You can phone them toll-free at 1-866-4-US-WAGE, or you can visit the Division’s Web site for more contact information. You may also wish to hire a Florida employment attorneywho will advice you on your rights.

Florida’s Department of Labor has been abolished; you should get in touch with Florida’s Agency for Workforce Innovation if you suspect your rights have been violated in the workplace.