Below is an overview of the minimum wage and overtime pay laws that apply to workers in the state of Florida.
Private actions to enforce Florida’s wage and hour laws, and recover unpaid overtime due to workers, are commonly brought (on a contingent fee basis) by employment law firms such as The Lore Law Firm.
If you believe that you have been deprived of the overtime pay that you are legally entitled to, please contact us for a free and confidential review of your situation.
Minimum Wage Regulations
The 2012 minimum wage in Florida is $7.79 per hour, effective January 1, 2012, with a minimum wage of at least $4.77 per hour for tipped employees, in addition to tips.
Effective July 24, 2009, Florida’s minimum wage increased, along with the Federal minimum wage, to $7.25 per hour. Additionally, each year, Florida’s minimum wage is subject to annual increases based on inflation.
Florida follows the Federal law. Overtime pay of time and a half is required for all non-exempt employees for hours worked over 40 during a workweek.
Florida does not have any state specific exemptions to the overtime pay requirements. Federal law exemptions apply, the most common of which include:
- Computer Employee
Holidays / Vacation
Florida does not have a state law requiring additional pay for work done on holidays or weekends. Employers are also not required to offer vacation, holiday or other pay for time not worked. These policies are at the discretion of the employer.
Meal Breaks / Rest Periods
Florida does not require an employer to provide breaks to employees. However if breaks are given, employers must follow the Federal requirements which state that when breaks of 20 minutes or less are given, they must be paid. Meal breaks of 30 minutes or more can be unpaid as long as the employee is relieved of all duties.
Reporting Time Pay
Neither Florida nor the Federal law requires payment if an employee reports to work expecting to work for a certain number of hours but does not get to work their full schedule.
Florida law does not mandate specific pay periods nor does the Federal law.
Florida law does not specifically address the types of deductions which can be taken; however pursuant to the FLSA, deductions for items such as uniforms, shortages, damaged goods, or trade tools cannot reduce the employee’s hourly wage below the minimum rate.
Statute of Limitations
For overtime claims, the statute of limitations is the same as under Federal Law – claims can be made for the prior 2 years (3 years if the violation is willful).
State Law Remedies / Penalties
The same Federal law remedies for overtime violations are available in Florida. Employees can recover all unpaid overtime for two or sometimes three years prior to the filing of a lawsuit. In almost all cases, they are additionally entitled to an award of “liquidated damages” equal to the amount of the unpaid overtime. This means that a successful employee can recover two times the amount of unpaid overtime. A successful plaintiff can also be awarded attorney’s fees and expenses.
An employer may not retaliate against an employee for exercising his or her right to receive the minimum wage or overtime pay. Rights protected by the State Constitution include the right to:
1. File a complaint about an employer’s alleged noncompliance with lawful minimum wage requirements.
2. Inform any person about an employer’s alleged noncompliance with lawful minimum wage requirements.
3. Inform any person of his or her potential rights under Section 24, Article X of the State Constitution and to assist him or her in asserting such rights.
An employee who has not received the lawful minimum wage after notifying his or her employer and giving the employer 15 days to resolve any claims for unpaid wages may bring a civil action in a court of law against an employer to recover back wages plus damages and attorney’s fees.
Employers may be subject to a $1,000 per violation fine for willful violations.
Employees may also be able to bring a wage claim against an employer based on written or oral employment contracts.