Navigating Florida overtime laws and legal obligations as an employer can be challenging. Sometimes even simple mistakes can cause troubles down the line and impact your business negatively.
We understand how sensitive this topic is and how important it is to have the correct information. Therefore, we've crafted this article as the go-to resource and a roadmap for employers in Florida. Its purpose is to equip them with everything they need to know to stay compliant and compensate their teams appropriately.
Let's briefly cover the overtime laws in Florida first. Then we'll address every section of it that's important to understand when running your own business.
Labor law in Florida addresses many important work-related aspects like discrimination and harassment. This state also has several wage and hour laws, yet overtime work isn't explicitly covered in the legal framework.
Therefore, the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the basis for regulating overtime hours and wages in this state.
Let's start with an overview of Florida labor laws regarding overtime:
All non-exempt employees covered by the FLSA must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a single workweek, at a rate that can't be less than time and a half their regular pay rates.
To help you understand this Act's implications, we'll explain every relevant aspect of it, one by one. But, first, both employers and employees are frequently wondering:
The FLSA overtime rules that this state follows are based on a workweek. So, under the overtime laws in Florida, when total weekly hours reach more than 40, employees must receive overtime pay for every extra hour worked. In other words, there is a weekly threshold that needs to be exceeded for overtime wages in this state.
A daily overtime limit isn't specified in Florida except for the manual laborers, which we'll address later.
To better understand when employees are eligible to receive overtime wages in Florida, let's clarify the legal concept first. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a workweek is defined as seven consecutive 24-hour periods or a period of 168 hours. It has to be fixed and regularly recurring too.
It's important to note that the work week doesn't have to coincide with the calendar week. Instead, it can begin on any day and at any hour of the day, as long as it's permanent and recurring.
In other words, the Act allows for different workweeks to be established for different employees or different groups of employees.
An employee's overtime pay rates depend on their regular rate of pay. According to Florida overtime laws, all non-exempt employees have to be paid time and one-half their wage. So, calculating the overtime pay rate in Florida is pretty straightforward. First, you have to multiply the employee's hourly wage by one and a half.
In short: yes, mandatory overtime is legal in Florida, as it is in some other states like California, for example. Employers can require overtime hours from their staff as long as it is appropriately compensated. It's also important to note that when it comes to the amount of overtime an employer can require, there is no set limit to it.
For example, an employer in Florida has the right to ask its employee to work a second shift.
When it comes to non-exempt employees, it is legal for the employer to require them to work overtime without any notice. The Federal law doesn't specify any time parameters regarding notice to employees that there is a need for overtime work.
If an employee refuses overtime in Florida, they can get fired unless protected by an employment or union contract. Since overtime is mandatory in Florida, firing an employee for refusing to work overtime is legal.
On the other hand, employees legally protected by a union or under an employment contract can't be fired for refusing to work overtime. In fact, if they get terminated for doing so, they have the right to file a lawsuit against their employer.
Overtime pay in Florida equals one and a half times an employee's regular hourly wage. Since Florida's minimum wage is set at $10 per hour, Florida's overtime minimum wage is $15 per hour.
In the state of Florida, a daily overtime limit isn't specified. On the other hand, there is a weekly overtime limit. For most hourly employees, this means they are eligible for an overtime pay rate for every extra hour worked over 40 in a single workweek.
To be eligible to receive overtime pay, employees need to be 16 or older. Aside from that, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) covers explicitly specific jobs:
The Florida overtime laws primarily protect hourly wage earners (especially those in blue-collar industries).
What hourly employees are eligible to receive overtime pay? There are two main requirements an hourly employee must meet to be eligible to receive overtime pay:
Although overtime pay in Florida is based on hours worked in a workweek, there is an exemption to this rule. According to the Florida overtime laws, manual laborers (construction workers, cashiers, factory attendants, etc.) working more than 10 hours in a single day are entitled to overtime for those hours too.
Now that we've covered other relevant topics related to the Florida overtime laws, it's time to see who the so-called "exempt employees" are.
This term is used to describe workers whose overtime hours are legally restricted. In other words, employers aren't legally required to pay overtime wages to exempt employees.
To be classified as an exempt employee from overtime in Florida, an individual needs to meet a few criteria:
The FLSA overtime wage laws do not cover employees who meet these requirements. What does this mean for you as an employer? In other words, you aren't legally obliged to compensate these employees for working off the clock.
As mentioned in the previous section, certain positions don't have to be paid overtime. Instead, there is a series of tests provided by the FLSA whose primary purpose is to determine whether an employee is eligible to receive overtime. This decision is based on the pay rate, skill level, working conditions, and several other factors.
Let's take a look at several examples of exempt employees under Florida overtime laws:
It's important to note that executives and other professionals need to earn at least $455 a week to be considered exempt employees.
More exempt positions under Florida overtime laws include agricultural and farm workers, transportation workers, and live-in staff like housekeepers.
Certain restrictions regarding overtime work can be established in the employment contract. Also, mandatory overtime can be restricted for workers that belong to the Union.
Employees on salary can earn overtime pay too. However, whether an employee is eligible for overtime in Florida or not is determined by their employment type. Specifically, it comes down to whether they are classified as exempt or non-exempt employees.
Suppose you need to hire independent contractors in Florida. In that case, you'll want to know their status regarding their rights to overtime pay. These workers don't have to be paid for overtime work as they aren't considered legal employees. Usually, independent contractors' compensation is based on the completion of their work. Therefore, they are paid either for an individual task or a project completed.
In Florida, employees do not earn overtime if they work on a holiday since it's considered the same as any other workday. Therefore, employers aren't legally required to pay their workers time and a half just because they work during holidays or weekends.
It's up to employers to decide if they want to provide their staff with additional compensation for working these days.
If a workweek falls on a holiday or weekend, and an employee works more than the regular 40 hours that week, they have to receive overtime pay.
Now that you know what Florida overtime laws are, the overtime minimum wage, the exempt employees, and who is eligible to receive overtime pay, the final step is understanding how to calculate overtime in Florida.
The calculation is pretty straightforward:
Take the employee's regular rate of pay and multiply it by 1.5.
For example, suppose a full-time employee earns $12 per hour, and they've worked 50 hours in a particular week. In that case, they are eligible to receive $18 for every extra hour worked.
As mentioned in the introductory part, Florida follows the Federal labor laws. So, employers and businesses operating in this state need to comply with FLSA overtime policies. But, achieving it also means protecting your business and your interests.
What can you as an employer do to follow legal obligations and avoid lawsuits and fines?
There are steps you can take to stay compliant with Florida overtime laws:
It's imperative for business owners to understand the legal framework of the country they are operating in. Legal obligations can be complex to comprehend, but not following them can lead to costly mistakes.
For example, to classify employees correctly and compensate them appropriately, one needs to know the ins and outs of Florida overtime laws.
Failing to do so, either by trying to avoid paying overtime or by wrongly classifying workers as independent contractors when the FLSA covers them, can result in employee lawsuits, fines, and even jail time.