The job landscape in the sunshine state is diverse, ranging from seasonal employment at glamorous theme parks to comprehensive factory work and minimum wage jobs. However, one thing that all Florida jobs have in common is that they must adhere to relevant labor laws that govern the number of hours workers work.
Workers are required to learn about their rights in order to determine the amount they are paid per week. Aside from that, business owners and managers must understand the laws to avoid legal jeopardy. When your rights are being violated, you should contact a legal representative.
Taking action quickly increases your chances of gathering the proof required to prevail in such cases. Your attorney will assist you in determining if your case has a basis in law. In the employment law scope, it is common for a client to realize during the evaluation that their privileges were being infringed on in forms they were unaware of.
What may have started out as a wage, shift, or hour complaint over break periods could turn out to be a massive violation of overtime laws.
An employer who is inclined to cut corners and flout their employees’ rights could possibly get away with anything they can. Such employers leverage their employees’ ignorance of their rights and unwillingness to challenge them even if they know they are being violated.
7 Important Florida Labor Laws Concerning Time Between Shifts and Breaks
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Florida Shift Length
Employers in Florida are required to make available overtime pay if an employee is working more than a 10-hour shift. There are no rules when it comes to the amount of time that must elapse between shifts. A normal shift is considered eight hours of work over five days, with eight hours of rest in between shifts.
Note that any deviation from this standard is deemed stretched or unconventional. Lengthier shifts are often required in certain urgent situations, like business transitions and when resources are limited. These shifts are unexpected and can have a negative impact on employees’ health, personal security, and efficiency.
Allowable Hours in a Day
The laws in Florida regarding the number of hours that can be worked in a day vary, and it determines how you’re paid. Many businesses in Florida opt to compensate their employees by the day, week, or year rather than the hour. Note that for workers who are paid in blocks of time in this manner, a day is limited to 10 hours. If you are assigned to work more than 10 hours, then your employer will have to pay you overtime.
However, if you are paid according to the hour, know that the state doesn’t regulate or restrict the number of hours you can work in a day as long as you are not below the age of 18. Overtime pay in Florida is fixed at 12 times the regular rate of pay in each of these cases.
Rest Breaks in Florida
Employers in Florida are not mandated by law to make available rest breaks. A good number of employers provide rest breaks as a form of perk or company policy. If the employer chooses to provide a rest break, federal law mandates them to compensate employees for short breaks of up to 20 minutes.
The FLSA expect employers to give nursing moms a break every time they require it during the first year after their child is born. Aside from that, they also need to provide a private space other than a bathroom.
Have in mind that the law is only applicable to non-exempt employees (those who qualify for overtime pay for overtime work), and it excludes companies with fewer than 50 employees. The FLSA does not mandate these breaks to be paid; however, when employers start providing paid breaks, a nursing mother will also need to be paid in the same manner other employees are paid for break time.
Meal Breaks in Florida
A good number of employers in the Sunshine State provide meal breaks by allowing their staff time to eat. However, except for workers aged 17 and below, there is no constitutional mandate in Florida to provide a workday meal break. Until an employee attains the age of 18, Florida labor law requires that minor employees be allowed at least a 30-minute undisrupted meal break for every 4 hours of regular work.
Under federal or state law, workers over 18 are not obligated to any break. If an employer accords a meal break as a facet of its corporate policy, it will have to comply with federal guidelines. Employees are mandated by federal law to be paid for any time they work.
If the employer provides at least a 30-minute meal break during which the employee is freed of all work tasks, the employer is not obligated to pay the employee during the meal break. Meanwhile, if the employee is obligated to work through the dedicated “meal break” (for instance, a secretary who should take phone calls during lunch), the employee should be compensated.
Florida Child Labor Laws
In Florida, children aged 14 and 15 are permitted to work part-time. So once school is out for the summer or vacation, they can work up to eight hours a day, or even up to 40 hours per week. Minors between ages 16 and 17 are not allowed to work during school hours and are cannot perform work before 6:30 a.m. or after 11:00 p.m.
They are not permitted to work upwards of eight hours in a day if school is to resume the following day. During the school year, they are permitted to work up to 30 hours per week after school and on weekends. There are no limits to the number of hours they can work when school is out for the summer.
Required Break Times For Employees Covered By The American Disabilities Act
Employers are expected to follow federal guidelines along with state laws that are applicable to the workplace. The ADA doesn’t state clearly that employees must be given breaks, but it does mandate employers to make provisions to allow the disabled to carry out their job functions. The following are examples of scenarios in which periodic breaks might be allowed:
- The worker has a pain disorder that necessitates them to get off their feet after a few hours of work.
- The employee is entitled to wear medical equipment, like a brace, which must be altered at regular intervals during the day.
- The worker needs room to take prescribed drugs or injections in private.
Note that this is no exhaustive list of the circumstances that could make an employee eligible for a break. If your employers refuse to make provisions for your disability, you could have a claim against them.
It is essential to note that all decisions are based on mutual acknowledgment between an employer and an employee. If an employee is given a 5- to 20-minute break, it is deemed compensatory time. Meal periods that last for 30 minutes are not deemed work hours, and thus are not eligible for compensation. But if a worker eats at work (for example, a receptionist) then that time is deemed compensable.
The laws concerning employment in the state of Florida can be quite confusing, and both state and federal laws may be applicable. Owing to that, always seek the expertise of an experienced lawyer to help point you in the right direction.