There are only a few situations that are as aggravating as doing a good job but not getting paid for it. Being paid less than what you were told can be equally as annoying. A worker who is not compensated properly may sue in a civil court under Florida law.
The law states that if a worker is successful in recouping wages in court, he or she may also recoup attorney’s fees and legal expenses.
Furthermore, employers are required by federal law – in particular, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), to pay non-exempt employees the current federal minimum wage for the time worked, together with overtime pay (usually one and a half times the employee’s regular hourly rate) for time worked in excess of 40 hours per week.
Florida also has a minimum wage for employees who work in the state. The minimum wage is set by the state and may be higher than the current national minimum wage. Workers in Florida who are yet to be paid the minimum wage can file a claim under both state and federal law.
In Florida, state and federal laws regulate when and how much workers ought to be paid. If an employer fails to pay you properly or on time, an employee may be able to recover more than just their outstanding salaries. Nonetheless, here are some important Florida labor laws concerning not being paid.
7 Most Important Florida Labor Laws Regarding Not Getting Paid
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Employers of labor in the state must pay the maximum minimum wage applicable to their location, whether local, state, or federal. According to reports, Florida’s minimum wage is $8.56 per hour (in 2023). You are guaranteed the minimum wage of the state, which is significantly greater when compared to the federal minimum wage which is put at $7.25 per hour.
Keep in mind that when the county or city you work with has a better minimum wage, you are qualified for it. However, in order to calculate your unpaid minimum wage claim, you must subtract what you were paid at an hourly rate from what you ought to have earned per hour and multiply that amount by the total number of hours you must have worked.
Employers in Florida may pay tipped employees as little as $5.54 per hour (as of 2022). However, if a worker does not earn enough in tips to satisfy the minimum wage of the state, the employer must make up the difference.
It should be noted that the inability to pay overtime constitutes one of the most serious wage violations committed by employers in Florida.
Although the state itself doesn’t seem to have an overtime law, employers are still required to follow the standard for overtime on a federal level, which requires them to pay qualified employees overtime when they work anything over 40 hours in a workweek.
In Florida, not all employees are qualified for overtime pay. White-collar employees and salespeople that carry out professional, managerial, and top-rated administrative duties seem to be the most common exemptions. You are qualified for overtime except if an employer of labor can demonstrate that you fall within one of these narrow exemptions.
Misclassifying employees as independent contractors is a method employed by some employers in Florida to avoid paying for essential benefits guaranteed by state and federal law, like minimum wage, overtime payments, family and medical leave, convenient workplaces, and unemployment insurance.
The Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor collaborates with the Internal Revenue Service and several states to tackle this issue and guarantee workers receive the wages, perks, and privileges that accrue to them.
If an employee is misclassified in order to deny them the perks, provisions, and wages they merit, the employee may be able to receive compensation. Punitive damages may also be imposed on an employer.
It should be noted that the Sunshine State has no detailed laws governing the timing or manner of an employee’s final paycheck.
An employer is obligated to pay employees on the next regular payday just after the employee’s departure from the company. If you are having difficulty receiving your final paycheck from an employer of labor, you can lodge a complaint with the United States Department of Labor.
Unpaid Breaks and Time Off
There are no regulations that require employers to provide employees with meal and rest breaks during the workday. Nonetheless, under federal law, if an employer chooses to give employees time off during the day, you must be compensated for any brief (20-minute or less) breaks during the workday, as well as any time when you are expected to work, even if an employer defines it a break.
For instance, if a company secretary needs to eat lunch at her workstation in order to operate the phones and acknowledge deliveries, she is entitled to be paid for that time, even if her boss refers to it as a “lunch break.”
In order to determine your unpaid break wages, you must add the correct time expended on shorter breaks that really should have been compensated or breaks that you have had to work through. Multiply the additional time by your hourly rate.
Wage theft is regarded as one of the most likely sources of theft in the United States, with total wage theft in the United States estimated to be around $15 billion per year.
To be honest, confronting an employer can be intimidating. Civil lawsuit processes are notoriously time-consuming, and many low-wage workers lack the time and incentive necessary to put up a successful wage theft claim, forcing many of them to forget about seeking compensation entirely.
Employees can, however, procure sanctions and recoup damages from employers who refuse to pay them under state and federal law.
Aside from that, you can seek punitive damages if an employer breaches minimum wage laws. Note that your outstanding salaries are the liquidated damages; if an employer is yet to pay you minimum wage; you have the legal backing to liquidate damages in the same amount.
Penalties for Outstanding salaries
If employees come out on top in their lawsuits or any administrative claims, state and federal laws clearly allow them to collect penalties coupled with the wages they should have received. If an employer of labor violates the minimum wage of Florida, note that you can be granted liquidated damages.
For instance, if an employer owes an employee $1000 in unpaid minimum wages, the employee may be entitled to an additional $1000 in liquidated damages.
In order to claim liquidated damages, the employee must first notify an employer in a written statement that he/she intends to sue. The employee should include the minimum wage they believe they should have received, the exact days and hours they will seek payment for, and the total amount the employee believes he/she merits.
An employer has 15 calendar days to rectify the employee’s claim. If no action is taken within or after 15 days, the employee has the legal backing to sue and seek liquidated damages. Note that an employee who prevails in court in an overtime case may be granted liquidated damages exactly equivalent to his or her outstanding salaries.
To be honest, the law is truly on your side as long as you can demonstrate that an employer of labor violated the employment law flagrantly. However, if you want to pursue the case, you must seek the advice of an experienced Florida employment law attorney.