Every country and in most cases, states, have laws that are designed to protect and also mediate the relationship between workers, employing entities, trade unions, and the government. Collective labor law relates to the tripartite relationship between employee, employer, and union.

The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Florida State Law provide protection for workers and guidelines for employers. Note that the classifications of employees determine what kind of wage protection an employee is entitled to. For example, independent contractors in Florida are not considered “employees,” and therefore, they do not receive wage protections such as overtime, unless otherwise agreed in their contract with the employer.

It is also important to note that exempt and non-exempt employees are classified by their jobs. Generally, those who earn an hourly wage are non-exempt employees in Florida, and those who earn under $23,660 annually or $455 weekly are non-exempt.

Please note that the jobs that may fall under this classification include inside sales workers, non-management employees, “blue-collar” workers, vocational workers, and emergency personnel such as police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders.

Aside from that, it is important to note that all non-exempt employees are entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay. Having said that, here are the 20 most important Florida labor laws that protect salaried employees.

Florida Labor Laws for Salaried Employees

  1. Minimum Wage Laws

In Florida, every salaried employee is entitled to minimum wage and Florida’s current minimum wage is ​​$8.65 per hour. Starting in September 2021, the minimum wage will increase to $10 per hour. After this initial increase, the yearly increase will be one dollar a year through 2026.

Please note that as an employer of labor in Florida, you cannot pay employees less than the stipulated minimum wage except in certain circumstances where part of an employee’s income is based on tips. When this is the case, the minimum wage requirement is $5.54 per hour and the employee must earn at least $3.02 an hour in tips.

  1. Florida Overtime Laws

Florida does not have its own overtime laws, hence employers must comply with federal overtime laws found in the FLSA. Overtime is available to non-exempt employees anytime the employee works more than 40 hours in one workweek. The overtime rate of pay is equal to or greater than one and one-half (time and a half) of the employee’s regular pay rate.

  1. Prevailing Wage

Prevailing wage refers to the rate of pay that must be offered by contractors and vendors to their employees when conducting business with a government agency.

Please note that Florida does not have a state law that governs these types of contracts, but this is rarely an issue in states like Florida where the state minimum wage is higher than the national minimum wage.

  1. Meals and Breaks

According to the Department of Labor, federal law does not require breaks, but the FLSA asserts that if breaks are less than 20 minutes long, they are considered part of the workday. Meal breaks of 30 minutes or more can be unpaid.

It is important to note that some states have detailed rules regarding employee breaks and compensation, including how often breaks are required per hour worked. Some industries, such as transportation, require breaks on a certain schedule for safety reasons.

  1. Florida Holiday Pay

Please note that private-sector employers are not required to grant any holidays off with or without pay. 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,

If you are a private-sector employer, you may not even notice that Columbus Day has come and gone, but Thanksgiving is probably more meaningful for your employees. You do not have to offer any holiday pay for these holidays, but keep staff morale in mind when making decisions about holidays.

In Florida, employers do not have to provide the benefit of vacation time to employees. Vacation time is a “perk,” not a requirement. Many private-sector employers offer paid vacation time for full-time employees. Vacation pay incentivizes employees to stay with the business and boosts morale.

It is important to note that stipulations for vacation pay, such as how long you have to work for the company before receiving vacation pay, the number of days an employee can take, and how to submit a request for vacation should be understood by both the employer and employee.

Please note that employers do have the legal right to enforce a “use it or lose it” policy so that an employee cannot accrue an excess amount of vacation time. This type of policy mandates that the employee use the days by a certain date or they disappear.

  1. Sick Leave

Just like paid vacation time, sick leave is an optional perk provided by an employer in Florida. It is often in the employer’s best interest 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.

It is important to note that if you are an employer who does not offer sick leave, you are still compliant with state and federal labor laws. But keep in mind that in some circumstances, an employee is federally entitled to take leave without pay to deal with a personal or family illness.

  1. Maternity and Paternity Leave

In Florida, employers are not required to compensate employees for maternity or paternity leave. New parents who are Florida public sector employees are legally entitled to a maximum of six weeks’ leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted child.

This also extends to caring for a spouse with disabilities leading up to and following childbirth. This time is unpaid unless otherwise stated in an employment agreement or employee policies.

It is important to state that the Federal Family Medical Leave Act allows both private and public sector employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave for new parent duties. This is only available to your employees if your company has more than 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.

  1. Nursing Mother Breaks

The nursing mother breaks ties in with parental leave but refers to being at work and needing to take breaks to express milk. These breaks are not mandatory under Florida law. For businesses with over 50 employees, the federal FLSA requires employers 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 must provide a private space other than a bathroom. This does not apply to companies with under 50 employees as it may impose an undue hardship.

  1. Domestic Violence Leave

Although most people may not be aware of this law it does exist. According to Florida Statutes Title XLIII, Domestic Relations § 741.313, an employee can request and take up to three unpaid workdays off if the employee or a household member is the victim of domestic violence or sexual violence.

The statute applies if the business has more than 50 employees and the employee has been working there for at least three months. The employee must use this time to seek an injunction against the abuser, obtain medical care or counseling, pursue victim service assistance, secure the home, or seek legal help.

  1. Voting Leave

Florida does not require employers to provide time off to vote, but many do. Some choose to restrict the amount of time an employee can be away from work for this activity.

  1. Jury Duty

Interestingly, no one gets excited about jury duty—not employers and not employees. But it is a valid reason for having to miss work. Florida wage and hour laws require that employees be allowed to perform this civic duty. As an employer, you cannot fire or threaten to fire someone for having to perform jury duty.

  1. Severance Pay

Florida labor laws do not require employers to provide employees with severance pay. If an employer chooses to provide severance benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

  1. Executive Exemption

Florida exempts executive employees from its minimum wage requirements. It has adopted the regulations regarding the exemption for executive employees as set forth pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act and its regulations.

  1. Administrative Exemption

Florida exempts administrative employees from its minimum wage requirements. It adopted the regulations regarding the exemption for administrative employees as set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act and its regulations.

  1. Professional Exemption

Florida exempts professional employees from its minimum wage requirements. It adopted the regulations regarding the exemption for professional employees as set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act and its regulations.

  1. Outside Salesman Exemption

Florida exempts outside salesmen from its minimum wage requirements. It adopted the regulations regarding the exemption for outside sales employees as set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act and its regulations. FL Statute 448.110(3).

  1. Computer Employee Exemption

Florida exempts computer systems analysts, computer programmers, software engineers, and other similarly skilled workers from its minimum wage requirements. It adopted the regulations regarding the exemption of computer systems analysts, computer programmers, software engineers, or other similarly skilled workers as set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act and its regulations.

  1. Direct Deposit

An employer may pay wages to an employee by direct deposit, so long as the employee has consented to direct deposit in writing and the employee is allowed to select the financial institution with which the payment is deposited. An employer may not discharge, refuse employment to, or take any other adverse employment action against an employee who chooses not to have his or her wages paid by direct deposit. FL Statute 532

  1. Payroll Card

Florida labor laws allow an employer to pay an employee their wages by payroll card if:

  • The wage amounts available in the payroll debit card account are redeemable at face value on demand without deduction or fee at some established place of business in Florida
  • The payroll debit card shows the name and address of the business in Florida where the value may be redeemed.