Florida law does not interfere with the number of hours employers can force salaried employees to work in the state. Unless a written agreement between the employer and employee states otherwise, an employer reserves the right under the FLSA to require an employee to work as many overtime hours as they want.
It is not rare that employers will ask employees to work a total of 50-60 hours per week, but they must get appropriately paid. Florida labor law does not cover work hour limits or payment of overtime. Rather the state legislature allows the federal overtime law to apply.
This federal overtime law can be found in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938. FLSA was established to guarantee a minimum standard for how employers across the United States will have to treat their employees. Today the FLSA regulates minimum wages, overtime, child labor standards, and recordkeeping rules.
Even if you have already met your full 40-hour (or more) workweek — if you are a non-exempt employee, they can require you to work another shift without any notice. Under federal law, there are no stipulated time parameters when it comes to giving notice to employees on overtime. Also, note that not all employees qualify for overtime pay. Understanding who is exempt under the federal standard is a balance of factors.
Labor Laws for Salaried Employees in Florida
While hourly employees tend to get paid based on the number of hours they spend working, salaried employees get an agreed weekly, bi-weekly or monthly wage. The FLSA has rules on how salaried employees are to be paid including overtime. To ensure you understand all these, here are labor laws for salaried employees in Florida;
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Minimum Wage Laws
In September 2021, Florida’s minimum wage was increased to $10 per hour. Note that after this initial increase, the law notes that there will be a yearly increase of one dollar through 2026.
As an employer in Florida; it is against the law to pay employees anything less than minimum wage except in certain circumstances where part of an employee’s income is based on tips. If that is the case, the minimum wage requirement is $5.54 per hour and the employee will need to earn at least $3.02 an hour in tips.
This refers to the rate of pay that will be offered by contractors and vendors to their employees when they are in business with a government agency. Although Florida does not have a state law that governs these types of contracts, it is barely an issue as the state minimum wage is higher than the national minimum wage, though the prevailing wage is not always the same as the minimum wage.
Meals and Breaks
Florida labor laws mandate employers in the state to make available a meal period of at least 30 minutes to employees under the age of 18 who work for more than 4 hours continuously. However, the state has no laws requiring employers to provide a meal period or breaks to salaried workers who are 18 years of age or above. Owing to that, the state tends to leverage the federal rule.
The federal rule also does not mandate an employer to provide either a meal (lunch) period or breaks. If an employer chooses to do so, breaks, especially the type lasting less than 20 minutes, will have to be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually 30 minutes or more) are not expected to be paid, as long as the employee is permitted to do as they wish within this meal or lunch period.
Paid Vacation Time
There is a requirement under Florida’s labor law that gives provision for paid vacation time for salaried employees. However, a good number of employers in the private-sector offer vacation as a “perk” or benefit for salaried employees.
It is up to individual employers to ensure compliance with such policies or risk legal action. Also, note that employers have certain legal rights. An employer is permitted to create and enforce a “use it or lose it” policy.
This type of policy prohibits employees from reserving vacation time by mandating that they take it by a stipulated date or do away with their right to use it. If an employer offers employees unpaid or paid vacation leave, they will need to comply with the standards noted in the employment contract or vacation leave policy.
Almost the same as paid vacation time, employers in the State are not obligated to provide it under applicable labor laws, but they can offer it if they so choose. Most often, employers in the State are advised to have some sort of sick leave option for full-time employees to avoid the pressure of trying to work through an illness or having employees infect other staff members when contagious.
If an employer does not offer paid sick leave, an employee still reserves the right to take unpaid time off by federal laws to deal with personal or family illnesses.
Florida Holiday Pay
Private employers in the state of Florida are not mandated to grant any holidays with or without pay. According to reports, the State of Florida officially recognizes 19 holidays, many of which are days off for those working in the public sector. Some of these holidays include:
- New Year’s Day,
- Martin Luther King Day,
- Presidents’ Day,
- Pascua Florida Day,
- Independence Day,
- Labor Day,
- Columbus Day,
- Veteran’s Day.
- Thanksgiving Day, and
- Christmas Day,
As a private-sector employer, there are certain holidays you don’t even have to bother with, but thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are more serious for employees. Howbeit, while you do not have to offer any holiday pay for these holidays, you should always consider your staff morale when making decisions about holidays.
Maternity and Paternity Leave
There are no laws in the state of Florida mandating employers to compensate employees for maternity or paternity leave. However, note that new parents who are Florida public sector employees are legally qualified to take a maximum of six weeks’ leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted child.
Also, note that this extends to those looking to care for a spouse with disabilities leading up to and following childbirth. Always remember that this time is unpaid unless otherwise stated in an employment agreement.
While Federal Family Medical Leave Act grants both private and public sector employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave for new parent duties, don’t forget that this is only available to employees if the company has more than 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
Nursing Mother Breaks
No laws in the State of Florida mandate employers to provide nursing mothers with breaks to express breast milk. Howbeit, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act mandates businesses with over 50 employees to provide non-exempt employees who are nursing mothers the ability to take nursing breaks for up to a year. In some situations, the employer will also have to provide a private space other than a bathroom.
Domestic Violence Leave
In the state of Florida, a salaried employee can request up to three unpaid workdays off if they or a household member is the victim of domestic violence or sexual violence.
Note that this statute applies only if the business has more than 50 employees and the employee has been working there for at least three months. The employee can use this time to seek an injunction against the abuser, get medical care or counseling, chase victim service assistance, secure the home, or seek legal help.
Jury Duty remains one of those civic duties people barely want to partake in, but it is a legitimate excuse to stay off work. Note that Florida law requires that employers allow employees to take time off for this purpose. It also restricts them from threatening to fire anyone who is called to appear for jury duty. However, employers are not expected to pay an employee for carrying out jury duty.