Florida Justice SystemAs we work through our week and head toward Friday, it’s a welcome end, for sure. But what if you’re asked or required to work beyond the usual 40 hours in a week? Indeed, extra money always comes in handy, but that’s assuming your employer understands and follows the wage and overtime laws.

Otherwise, you could be losing a lot of money. Most working people understand that working more than 40 hours in a week entitles them to pay overtime. Your employer will pay you at 1.5 times your regular hourly rate for every hour worked over 40.

It’s important to understand that, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime provision, most employees working on the railroad or over-the-road truck drivers, outside salespeople, salaried employees, and management personnel do not qualify for overtime pay.

Update to Florida’s Overtime Rule

For many Floridians, January 1st, 2020, came and went without much fanfare. But, on that day, Florida’s final overtime rule took effect. It meant many more Florida employees suddenly became eligible for overtime. No one knows for sure about the amendment’s long-term effects, but one thing is for sure. Rising costs are on the horizon for Florida business owners, but how much depends on the types of workers they have working for them.

As you might imagine, the new rule changes were long in coming with extended discussions but formalized by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) in September 2019. The silver lining to these changes is that previously exempt employees are now eligible to earn overtime pay.

The new rule raises exempt white-collar salary minimums to $684 per week, up from its previous level of $455 per week. For highly compensated employees (HCEs), the minimums of their current-enforced compensation to $107,432 per year, up from its previous level of $100,000.

The rule also enacts new revisions for employees of the motion picture industry and workers in U.S. territories. Employers can pay non-discretionary bonuses and other pay at their option, but they’re limited to a max of ten percent of the total annual compensation.

Exempt vs Non-Exempt Employees

It’s essential to understand the difference. When an employer considers you as an exempt employee, that means they don’t have to pay you overtime, but they can if they so choose. Typically, an exempt employee receives a salary and has duties as an executive, admin, or works in some other professional capacity.Employers pay their non-exempt employees overtime at a rate 1.5 times their regular hourly wage for hours worked over the typical 40.

Break Times

A requirement of providing breaks during a work shift for employees doesn’t exist in the Federal Laws of the United States or through the Department of Labor. The only related regulation that provides a break currently on the books applies when an employee is cheated out of overtime pay due to a short, albeit unpaid, snack break.

Regarding 30-minute lunch breaks, the Department of Labor currently does not have a written policy because breaks are not standard working time. Also, employers are not mandated to pay for lunch breaks unless regarded as customary. In Florida, for example, employers customarily allow employees a 30-minute lunch break when working six to eight-hour shifts.

Further, under Florida Labor Laws, employees working eight-hour shifts are customarily afforded a 30-minute lunch break, including 15-minute breaks, one during the first four hours and one during the second half of an eight-hour shift.

Some employers dispute the giving of breaks because doing so extends the workday, forcing the employer to pay overtime required by law. Employees working a six-hour shift will typically have a paid break during the shift, but not a 30-minute unpaid break, as in a lunch break.

Florida child labor laws require employees under 18 to take an unpaid 30-minute break for every four hours of work. The exception is the law does not apply to employees enrolled in high school and are 18-years old.

Allowable Daily Work Hours

According to Florida labor laws, depending on how your employer pays you, it dictates the allowable hours worked in a day. For example, if your employer pays you for specific periods like days, weeks, or even years, the daily work hours get capped at 10 hours, after which the law requires the employer to pay overtime.

If you’re an hourly employee, Florida laws don’t limit the hours worked in a day if you’re 18 or over. Remember that Florida laws don’t specify payment of overtime after 40 hours in a week. Federal work laws apply in this situation, where employees working over 40 hours in a given week receive 1.5 times their regular hourly wage.

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