Florida Labor Laws

March 14th 2024

This article covers:

What Are Florida Time Management Laws?

In the US, there are federal laws in place to manage the time spent by employees in the workplace, safeguarding their rights and guaranteeing fair pay for their efforts. These laws act as directives for employers, keeping them in check, and minimizing any forms of abuse or exploitation.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which dates back to 1938, is a critical federal law for time management, setting hourly wage rates and overtime pay, and requiring employers to keep an accurate record of their employees’ working hours. Overtime is pegged at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for workers who exceed 40 hours a week. However, certain job categories, including executives, professionals, and administrative employees, are exempt from overtime pay depending on their job description and salary.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is another essential federal law that governs time management in the workplace, entitling eligible employees to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons, such as the birth or adoption of a child or caring for a family member with a serious health condition. This act also requires employers to maintain employees’ health benefits during their leave and restore them to their previous or equivalent positions upon their return to work.

Employers who contravene federal time management laws face severe legal ramifications, including fines, back pay, and damages. If workers feel that their employer has violated federal time management laws, they can file complaints with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for investigation and legal action.

Overall, federal time management laws are instrumental in ensuring that workers are compensated fairly for their time and effort in the workplace, protecting them from abuse and exploitation by employers. The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act are vital federal laws that govern time management and worker compensation, ensuring fair labor practices across various sectors, including non-profit, public, and private organizations.

Minimum Wage $12.00
Overtime 1.5 times regular wage for any hours worked over 40 hours/week ($18.00 for minimum wage workers)
Breaks Breaks not mandated by law

What Are the Hiring, Working and Termination Laws in Florida?

In Florida, the government has taken strong steps to make sure that job seekers have equal access to jobs. Employees and job applicants are protected from discrimination during the hiring process and while on the job. It is illegal to discriminate against someone because of their:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Race
  • National origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Disability
  • Marital status

However, the state of Florida does allow for “giving preferences” to applicants who are members of certain religious associations or educational institutions when it comes to work that is related to these organizations. 

Florida law protects job applicants from possible schemes, making sure that everyone has the same chance of getting a job during the onboarding process. Under Florida law, it is a first-degree misdemeanor for two or more people to work together against a job applicant who is trying to get hired by a company or business. Such conspiracies are taken seriously, and the penalties can be severe, including a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to one year. 

In Florida, public employees are not allowed to go on strike, which is different from some other states. Violations of the provisions listed above may result in a conviction of a second-degree misdemeanor for individuals or labor organizations. The state also carefully chooses who will work for it in the future, keeping a balance between safety and choice. Employers in Florida often check an applicant’s background (usually done before hiring) to see if they are a good fit for the job. These screenings are also known as background checks and can help employers make informed hiring decisions. During the screening process, if an employer finds out that a job applicant has broken the law, they are allowed by law to turn down the applicant. Let’s take a closer look at the two levels of background screening in Florida:

  1. Level 1 Screening: Applies to certain applicants, such as law enforcement officers and those who work with vulnerable populations like children or the elderly. This screening may include employment history checks, statewide criminal correspondence checks through the Department of Law Enforcement, checks of the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website, or local criminal records checks.
  2. Level 2 Screening: Applies to applicants who provide care to children, developmentally disabled individuals, or vulnerable adults, as well as those who work on helplines or have access to abuse records. This screening includes verification of employment history, capturing fingerprints, examining national records of criminal history, or inspecting local records of criminal history.

Employers in Florida can’t require an HIV test as part of the hiring process unless the job has a risk of spreading the virus while doing work-related tasks. If a job applicant tests positive for HIV, an employer can’t treat them differently during the hiring process unless the job has a high chance of spreading the disease. In Florida, employers and job applicants are not required by law to take a drug or alcohol test. However, they may conduct drug testing to maintain a drug-free work environment. The employer must provide written notice of the testing 60 days prior to testing. If a candidate doesn’t want to be tested or tests positive for drugs or alcohol, the employer may not hire them.

Florida adopted a right-to-work statute in 1943, which ensures that every employee has the right to choose whether or not to join a union. Employees have the right to work without being forced to join a labor union as a condition of employment. As such, under Florida law, no labor organization, union, employer, corporation, or association can:

  • Prevent employees from exercising their right to form, join, or support labor unions and organizations, or from refraining from such activities.
  • Discriminate against an employee in hiring or employment based on their membership or nonmembership in a labor union or organization.
  • Prohibit public employees from forming, joining, or participating in any employee organization of their choice, or from refraining from such activities.
  • Discriminate against a public employee based on their membership or nonmembership in any labor union or organization.

When it comes to work termination, employment in Florida is considered “at-will.” This means that either the employer or the worker can end the job at any time without giving a reasonBut it’s important to remember that an employer can’t fire an employee because of their age, gender, race, nationality, disability, or marital status. If an employee is fired on the basis of any of the mentioned characteristics, it is regarded as wrongful termination, The employee has the option to file a lawsuit against their employer. 

In Florida, there is no specific state regulation governing the timing of the final paycheck for terminated employees. According to the Department of Labor, employers are not required to provide former employees with their final paycheck immediately after their termination, but rather on the next scheduled payroll day. If an employee has not received their final paycheck on the next scheduled payday for the last pay period, they can seek assistance from the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division or the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).

What Are the Key Labor Laws in Florida?

Now, we will discuss some key labor laws in Florida that may not be related to the categories we have previously explored. Some of these regulations include:

  • COBRA Continuation of Health Insurance Laws –  The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a federal law that says full-time employees (or their beneficiaries) who lose their jobs because of certain events can keep using their health benefits for 18 to 36 months. Qualifying events include job loss, death, or divorce. COBRA only applies to businesses with more than 20 employeesHowever, in Florida, the mini-COBRA law, under the Health Insurance Coverage Continuation Act, provides similar protections for employees who work in companies with fewer than 20 employees. Under this law, employees must tell their insurance company within 30 days of leaving their job, and they can keep their health insurance for an extra 18 months.
  • OSHA Laws – The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ensures that private sector employers and workers in Florida are safe and healthy. It is the responsibility of every private-sector employer to provide their employees with a work environment that is free of hazards. Authorities are permitted to enter workplaces during working hours to ensure that all regulations are being followed as stated in the act. Also, if a worker sees something unsafe in the workplace, they can notify the authorities through a letter. If an employer violates the provisions of the act and fails to provide a secure work environment to employees, he may face penalties ranging from $5,000 to $70,000 for each violation, under OSHA Penalties. In addition to OSHA rules, Florida has also put in place strict rules for the safety of workers at the state level. A number of educational programs and research are offered by the Florida Department of Health to improve the health and safety of Florida’s workforce.
  • Whistleblower Protection Laws – The Whistleblower Act in Florida protects employees who report any illegal behavior inside an organization from adverse actions taken against them by their employers. This act covers state, regional, local, or municipal government entities, as well as independent contractors. Employees can’t be fired, disciplined, suspended, demoted, or have their benefits cut for whistleblowing and any employee who faces any adverse actions for reporting illegal behavior has the right to file a complaint within 180 days following the incident by writing to their bosses or the Florida Commission on Human Relations, or by calling the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Department of Legal Affairs’ whistleblower hotline. The complaint would allow them to attend a hearing and receive compensation for any lost benefits, attorney’s fees, and other relevant damages.
  • Record-keeping Laws – Employers in Florida are required to comply with both state and federal recordkeeping requirements. Some of the key records that employers must keep include the following:
    • General information – documents that establish employees’ identity and employment eligibility (I-9 form)
    • Payroll records – the names, addresses, and rates of pay for their employees
    • Wage computation records – wage rate tables, work and time schedules, and records of any additions or deductions from employees’ wages
    • W-4 form
    • Dispute records – in case of a dispute between the employer and employee
    • Confidential documents – confidential documents related to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
    • Onboarding records of current and former employees – application forms, resumes, tests, and background checks
  • Accrued Sick Leave Terminal Payment Policy – The regulations regarding payment for unused sick leave upon retirement favor state employees. Nonetheless, all state employees are eligible for terminal incentive pay based on the accumulation of unused sick leave upon their normal or regular retirement. If an employee or their beneficiary has worked for the state for at least ten years and suffers death or disability, they may also receive terminal incentive pay for accumulated sick leave upon termination and the pay rate must match the employee’s pay rate at the time of their retirement, termination, or death. Under this statute, one-eighth of all unused sick leave credit accumulated before October 1, 1973, plus one-fourth of all unused sick leave accumulated after October 1, 1973, is payable for terminal payout, maxed at 480 hours of sick leave. It is important to note that employees who have been convicted in a court of law or have been involved in activities such as embezzlement and theft are not eligible under this statute.

Florida Payment Laws

Florida laws about how much employees should be paid. Let’s take a look at the regulations that outline the minimum hourly wage, tipped hourly wage, and minimum wage for young workers in Florida.

What is the Minimum Payment in Florida?

At the moment, the minimum wage in Florida is $12.00 per hour.

Florida law necessitates that tipped employees receive a minimum cash wage of $8.98 per hour, as long as the employee’s total hourly earnings, including tips, equal or exceed the state minimum wage of $12.00 per hour. If the employee’s earnings fall below the minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference. However, the employer can take a tip credit of up to $3.02 per hour from the employee.

According to federal law, employers can pay workers who are under the age of 20 a minimum wage of $4.25 per hour for the first 90 days of employment. However, if the employee is a full-time student working in retail, agriculture, or at a college or university, they are entitled to receive 85% of the minimum wage, as low as $10.20 per hour. To employ a full-time student, the employer must obtain a certificate. During school time, full-time students are only allowed to work up to 20 hours per week (or 8 hours per day), but when school is not in session, they may work up to 40 hours per week.  

What Are the Exceptions for Minimum Payment in Florida?

The Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal law that was passed in 1938, set up many of the employment standards that we now take for granted, like the minimum wage and overtime pay. But the Act also recognizes that not all employees are the same and that some may not have to follow all the rules.

Here is a full list of employees that exempt from the minimum wage, along with the qualifications they need to meet:

  • Executive workers, Administrative workers, and Learned and creative professionals paid on a salary basis and earning at least $684 per week.
  • Computer employees earning at least $684 per week or $27.63 per hour
  • Highly compensated employees earning $107,432 or more annually
  • Outside sales employees with no minimum salary requirement
  • Tipped employees
  • Underage individuals

It’s important to note that these exemptions do not apply to “blue-collar” workers, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, rescue workers, and similar employees. These employees are entitled to the minimum wage as regulated by the FLSA. Download U.S. FLSA Exemption Salary Threshold 2024 Poster now.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) permits the employment of specific individuals at wage rates that are lower than the minimum wage called the subminimum wage.  This type of employment is aimed at preventing certain individuals from losing employment opportunities and requires certificates from the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. Categories qualified for these wage rates include student-learners engaged in vocational education and full-time students working in retail, service establishments, agriculture, or higher educational institutions. Individuals with physical or mental disabilities, including age or injury-related impairments, that affect their earning or productive capability for the job also qualify.

What is the Payment Due Date in Florida?

Employers in the state of Florida have the flexibility to set their own payment schedules, as the state does not have any laws regulating how often employees must be paid. Despite the lack of state laws pertaining to payment frequency, common frequency schemes in the US include:

  • Once per week – 52 paychecks per year
  • Every two weeks – 26 paychecks per year
  • Twice a month – 24 paychecks per year
  • Once a month – 12 paychecks per year

Why not use Jibble’s time-tracking software to monitor your work hours and guarantee accurate payments?

What Are Florida Overtime Laws?

Nonexempt employees in Florida must be paid overtime at the federal rate of one and a half (1.5) times their regular hourly pay for any hours worked beyond 40 in a week, as there are no specific state laws regulating overtime working. When it comes to holidays, weekends, or other scheduled days of rest, it is worth noting that employers are not obligated to provide overtime pay for work performed on these days according to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Some employers, however, may choose to offer overtime pay for these days as an incentive to their employees.

What Are Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Florida?

In the state of Florida, certain occupations are exempt from overtime pay requirements. These exemptions are outlined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and include:

  • Executives, administrative, computer employees, and learned and creative professionals compensated on a salary basis and earning at least $684 per week
  • Highly compensated employees receiving a regular salary and making at least $107,432 annually, equivalently at least $684 weekly
  • Outside sales employees and employees working varying schedules using the Fluctuating Workweek Method (FWW)

It’s important to note that these exemptions do not apply to “blue-collar” workers, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, rescue workers, and similar employees. These employees are entitled to overtime pay as regulated by the FLSA.

In the state of Florida, the Fluctuating Workweek Method, also known as “Chinese overtime”, is a way for salaried employees to receive an overtime premium of one-half (0.5) times their regular hourly rate. This means an employee who has a fixed salary and whose workweek varies is entitled to this overtime rate.

Learn more in detail about Florida Salaried Employees Laws and Florida Overtime Laws.

What Are Florida Time Off/Break Laws?

Employers in Florida are not required by state law or federal law to provide their employees with any rest breaks through the workday or during the 8-hour shift. Meal breaks, for adult employees, are also not mandated according to the law.

What Are the Exceptions to Break Law in Florida?

Employers and employees may come to a mutual agreement about creating rest intervals that last anywhere between 5 to 20 minutes, which are subsequently recognized as compensatory time. Employees are not entitled to compensation for meal breaks, otherwise referred to as bona fide meal periods, as they are not regarded as working hours. These breaks often last for at least 30 minutes. However, employees who need to eat while working, such as a receptionist on phone duty, will be compensated for the time spent eating.

What are Florida Breastfeeding Laws?

Although mothers have the legal right to breastfeed their babies in both public or private places in Florida and nursing mothers are protected from public indecency laws, there are no specific state laws regarding breastfeeding in the workplace. However, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to provide nursing mothers with a reasonable break time and a separate room for expressing milk at work which should not be a bathroom.

Learn more in detail about Florida Break Laws.

What Are Florida's Leave Laws?

As an employee in Florida, it’s important to understand the different types of leave that may be available to you. The following types of leave are offered in Florida: Required Leave and Non-Required Leave.

What is Florida Required Leave?

The following are the mandatory leave regulations that apply to employees in Florida:

  • Holidays Leave (Public Employers) – In Florida, all state branches and agencies are required to give their employees a paid day off on certain state and religious holidays. In case any of these holidays occur on a Saturday, the previous Friday will be observed as a day off, while if it falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be observed as a day off.
  • Parental and Family Medical Leave – An employee may utilize the family medical leave provision in cases of severe sickness or disease, whether it affects the employee or a family member. This also includes any physical or mental condition that necessitates care at home or a situation that may lead to death. Parental leave is reserved for the purpose of caring for a newborn infant, and it can be taken by either the father or the mother. For state employers, employees are entitled to up to six months of unpaid leave, but only after obtaining a written statement from a physician. It is unlawful for employers to terminate an employee’s employment due to pregnancy or to deny the granting of family medical leave.
  • Jury Service Leave – In Florida, a worker who is called to serve on a jury is allowed to take time off from work. However, full-time employees are not eligible for compensation for the first 3 days of their jury service. On the other hand, non-regular or part-time employees serving as jurors receive $15 per day for the first three days of their service. Additionally, jurors who serve beyond 3 days are compensated for the fourth day of their service and each subsequent day at a rate of $30 per day.
  • Military Service Leave – Florida employees have the right to take military leave without losing pay, vacation time, or sick leave. The duration of paid absence cannot exceed 240 working hours per year.
  • Emergency Response leave – State agency workers have the possibility of being given a paid break lasting a maximum of 120 working hours in a 12-month time span, in order to perform voluntary work.

What is Florida Non-Required Leave?

Employers are not obligated to provide their employees with days off on the following occasions:

  • Vacation Leave – There are no state laws in Florida requiring employers to provide vacation time, paid or unpaid. Nonetheless, this doesn’t preclude employers from providing vacation or other similar benefits to their staff, which is often a mutually agreed upon arrangement between the employer and employee.
  • Sick Leave – Federal law doesn’t state that employers have to give their workers paid or unpaid sick leave. In the event that an employer decides to provide such leave, it is typically a mutually agreed-upon arrangement between the employer and the employee.
  • Holidays Leave (Private Employers) – Florida’s labor laws do not mandate private employers to provide their employees with paid or unpaid vacation time, nor do they oblige employers to compensate their employees with higher wages for working on holidays.
  • Voting Leave – In Florida, there is no law that says employers have to give their workers paid or unpaid time off from work to vote. Still, it is a third-degree felony to fire or threaten to terminate an employee who says he or she plans to vote or not vote in an election.
  • Grief and Bereavement Leave – There is no legal provision in Florida that mandates employers to offer bereavement leave to their employees. It is entirely at the discretion of the employer to decide how they handle bereavement leave benefits.

The following are the official state holidays observed in Florida:

Florida State Official Holidays   Date
New Year’s Day January 1
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Third Monday in January
Presidents’ Day Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day July 4
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Veterans Day November 11
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day December 25

Learn more in detail about Florida Leave Laws.

What Are Florida Child Labor Laws?

Minors in Florida are not required to obtain work permits or papers from schools or government agencies to work. This can make it easier for minors to start working and gain valuable experience without having to deal with complicated bureaucratic processes. However, while Florida does not require work permits for minors, it does regulate other aspects of child labor, such as working hours, breaks, and other related policies. Florida law says that all kids under 18 who work for more than four hours straight must get a 30-minute break for lunch, whether they are in school or not.

What Are the Laws on Working Hours for Minors in Florida?

The state of Florida has both state and federal labor laws regulating the working hours of minors. We have compiled for you the restrictions on the maximum hours and times that 14-15-year-olds and 16-17-year-olds can work in the table below:

Age School Type Academic Year Status Maximum Hours on School Day Maximum Hours on Non-school Day Maximum Hours per Week Maximum Consecutive Days Prohibited Work Hours
14-15 Public In Session 3 hours 8 hours 15 hours 6 consecutive days Before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
Not in Session (June 1 to Labor Day) 8 hours N/A 40 hours 6 consecutive days Before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m. each day
16-17 Private/Private In Session 8 hours N/A 30 hours 6 consecutive days Before 6:30 a.m. or after 11 p.m.
Not in Session No hourly restrictions N/A N/A 6 consecutive days No hourly restrictions

What Are the Exceptions to Working Hours Limitations for Minors in Florida?

Minors are exempt from the working hours restrictions if they:

  • Are engaged in a career education program, a school-to-work program, or a comparable program
  • Hold a certificate of partial exemption from the Child Labor Program or the public school
  • Have been married
  • Hold a high school diploma or a diploma equivalent to a high school diploma from a recognized institution
  • Have served in the military
  • Have been granted permission by a judge

What Are the Banned Jobs for Minors in Florida?

In Florida, some jobs are thought to be dangerous for minors and are banned by law. These hazardous occupations are classified into two categories, namely:

  • Occupations that are prohibited for all minors. These include building construction, working with toxic substances, and operating power-driven machinery, among others.
  • Occupations that are prohibited for minors aged 14 and 15. These include heavy work in the building trades, working in freezers or meat coolers, and working with snake pits, among others.

In addition to these occupations, minors in Florida aged 18 or younger are also prohibited from working in establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold and served on-premises. However, there are some exceptions to this rule for:

  • Minors who work in drugstores, grocery stores, and similar establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold but not consumed on-premises
  • Professional entertainers who are 17 years old and not attending school
  • Minors who have received a waiver
  • Minors who are 17 years or older with written permission from their principal to work in a bona fide food service establishment
  • Minors who are 18 years old and under and employed as bellhops, elevator operators, or in similar positions
  • Minors who are under the age of 18 and working in bowling alleys, as long as they are not serving, preparing, or selling alcoholic beverages
  • Minors who are under the age of 18 and working as actors, actresses, or musicians in a bona fide dinner theater

To comply with the Florida Child Labor Law, employers must display Florida Child Labor Law Posters in a prominent location on the property to inform minors and employers about the Child Labor Law. The posters must contain information on:

  • Limits on weekly and daily work hours during school session and breaks
  • Banned jobs for minors
  • Penalties for employers who fail to adhere to the law
  • Mandatory rest periods for all underage workers.

Additionally, employers must keep waiver authorizations, proof of age documentation, such as a copy of the minor’s driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, or visa, and proof of exemption from minor status during the minor’s employment or until the minor turns 19.

It’s important to note that minors who live on farms and whose parents or guardians manage a ranch or farm with livestock are exempt from hazardous occupation regulations, provided that they don’t work during school hours. The Florida Child Labor Law also allows minors who live in difficult life circumstances to apply for waivers and receive a working license from the Child Labor Office, exempting them from certain regulations to be able to work. However, this doesn’t apply to minors in the entertainment industry. Each waiver request is looked at on its own to make sure that minors in the workplace are safe and healthy. Employers must comply with specific regulations when employing minors with waivers. More info here: Department of Business & Professional Regulation Penalties in Florida

As Florida places a high priority on the protection of minors in the workplace, all employers must comply with child labor laws, ensure a safe work environment for minors, and provide proper supervision for minors. Penalties are in place for employers who violate these laws. If an employer breaks any part of the child labor law, they must pay the injured worker, not the insurance company. However, the total compensation cannot exceed double the amount payable under the statute.  

Learn more in detail about Florida Child Labor Laws.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.