Compliance Watch:
What are my rights as an hourly employee in Florida?

April 15th 2024

For every hourly worker in Florida, comprehending your rights is more than just a legal obligation; it’s a crucial step toward embarking on a journey of empowerment and self-assurance in your professional life.

As you clock in and out each day, the compensation you earn for your dedicated efforts sets your place within the workplace. However, the specifics of these arrangements can significantly vary when transitioning from one state in the U.S. to another, and Florida is no exception. You might find yourself wondering what you’re entitled to and how to assert your rights effectively.

This article has been tailored specifically for hourly employees like you in Florida. Our objective is to provide you with insights that not only ensure fair treatment but also grant you the ability to proactively shape your work experience in accordance with the legal frameworks and regulations of the Sunshine State.

This Article Covers

Defining an Hourly Employee in Florida
Wage and Hour Regulations in Florida
Rest Laws in Florida
Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in Florida
Termination of Employment in Florida

Defining an Hourly Employee in Florida

What is Hourly Employment in Florida?

An hourly worker is an individual who is paid based on the number of hours they work in a given week. This stands in opposition to salaried workers, who receive a fixed pay regardless of their weekly working hours. Those who earn an hourly wage are remunerated according to the amount of time they dedicate to their job.

Hourly wage earners typically establish specific employment arrangements with their employers, employing methods like time cards or timesheets to document their work hours. The responsibility for determining the weekly work hours of these employees lies with their employers.

The compensation of hourly wage workers depends on the actual hours they put into their job. Different to salaried employees, whose earnings are predetermined, those on hourly wages have their income linked to their work timetable. Consequently, their earnings can vary from one week to the next.

If you work as an hourly wage earner in Florida, you have the right to receive at least the minimum wage mandated by both federal and state regulations. While there are no strict limits on the maximum number of hours an adult can work per week, specific rules are in place for hourly wages that exceed certain weekly thresholds. 

What are the Key Differences Between Hourly and Salaried Employees in Florida?

Aspect Hourly Employees Salaried Employees
Minimum Wage Laws Subject to Florida’s minimum wage of $12.00/hour.  Under FLSA and Florida laws, paid a fixed amount regardless of hours worked.
Overtime Laws Eligible for overtime (1.5x pay) for hours beyond 40 in a workweek. Exempt under FLSA for certain positions; eligibility for overtime varies.
Severance Pay Similar to salaried; tied to years of service and company policies. Typically depends on tenure; payouts vary based on years of service.
Paid Sick Leave & FMLA May earn paid sick leave and use it with unpaid FMLA leave. Salaried pay often includes sick leave; qualifies for FMLA benefits.
Paid Vacation May earn paid vacation based on hours worked and employer policies. Salaried pay may include vacation; specifics vary by employer.
Maternity/Paternity Leave No guaranteed paid leave; terms depend on employer’s policies. May have unpaid provisions; duration varies by agreement.
Domestic Violence Leave Same provisions as salaried employees; up to 3 unpaid days. Up to 3 unpaid workdays allowed for certain situations.

To learn more about Florida labor laws, you can access our informative guides on understanding your rights as a salaried employee in Florida and discovering how to run payroll in Florida.

Wage and Hour Regulations in Florida

What are the Maximum Weekly Working Hours in Florida?

In Florida, there are no state regulations governing overtime work. Hence, all nonexempt employees in the state must abide by federal law. Though there are no maximum weekly working hours, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) dictates that employees must receive at least the minimum wage and cannot work more than 40 hours in a week without being paid at least one and a half times their regular hourly wage for the extra hours.

The workweek is defined as a consistent, unbroken, seven-day period running 24 hours a day. It isn’t necessary for the workweek to begin on a Sunday and end on a Saturday; it can commence on any day of the week and conclude seven consecutive days later.

What is the Minimum Wage for Hourly Employees in Florida?

The current prevailing minimum wage in Florida is $12.00 per hour, surpassing the federal minimum of $7.25. This specific minimum wage applies to both full-time and part-time employees in general. Every employer in Florida is obligated to display the current minimum wage prominently within their establishment, ensuring it is visible to employees.

Further, amendment 2, sanctioned by Florida voters on November 3, 2020, brought about a modification to the state’s constitution, stipulating a gradual augmentation of the minimum wage to $15 per hour by the year 2026. Download U.S. Minimum Wage 2024 Poster now.

How Many Hours Qualify As Overtime and What is the Associated Pay in Florida?

State law specifies that if an employee works more than 40 hours within a workweek, employers must compensate them for the additional hours either by:

  • Allowing or mandating the employee to take compensatory time off at a rate of 1.5 hours for every overtime hour worked (relevant for government employees only).
  • Providing payment for the overtime hours at a rate of 1.5 times their regular hourly wage.

Given that the standard minimum wage in Florida is $12.00 per hour, the overtime minimum wage in Florida is $18.00 per hour, equating to one and a half times the basic wage rate.

It’s worth noting that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) doesn’t mandate extra pay for working on weekends, holidays, or regular days of rest. Explore our comprehensive guide for calculating overtime in Florida for further information.

Rest Laws in Florida

What are the Offered Meal and Rest Breaks for Hourly Employees in Florida?

Under Florida’s regulations concerning breaks, employers have no obligation to provide their workers with paid or unpaid meal or rest breaks. In simpler terms, it’s at the employer’s discretion whether employees are granted time for lunch or relaxation during their work shifts.

Similarly, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) doesn’t necessitate meal breaks or rest periods for employees either.

Hence, it follows that a grown-up employee in Florida doesn’t have a right to receive a designated period of time off for lunch while they’re on the job.

What Laws Govern Time Off and Leaves for Hourly Employees in Florida?

Numerous American companies extend leave privileges to their employees, allowing them to take time away from work for diverse reasons. These leave privileges, whether fully compensated, partially compensated, or without pay, are generally established through an arrangement between the employer and the employee, sometimes facilitated by an employee representative such as a union.

Employees in Florida are covered by an important legal framework governing leave entitlements which is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This law permits specific employees to avail themselves of up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year while safeguarding their job status and maintaining their group health benefits throughout the duration of the leave.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) also comes into consideration when discussing leave benefits. However, it’s important to emphasize that the FLSA covers only specific types of leave. While some forms of leave are mandated by law, others are optional incentives provided by employers.

Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in Florida

What are the Laws Regarding Pay Deductions for Hourly Employees in Florida?

Florida doesn’t encompass any regulations pertaining to the permissible deductions that can be subtracted from an employee’s salary or whether the employee needs to provide prior written consent for such deductions. The absence of a legal prohibition on deductions implies that an employer is likely authorized to retain or subtract wages from an employee’s paycheck for:

  • Deficits in cash handling.
  • Breakage, impairment, or loss of the employer’s assets.
  • Checks that were returned or dishonored.
  • Mandatory uniforms.
  • Required tools.
  • Other essentials needed for employment.

In accordance with federal legislation, an employer is prohibited from making deductions for the above-mentioned items if it results in the employee earning less than the federal minimum wage for the corresponding timeframe in which the deduction occurred.

What are the Hourly Employees Entitlements Under Florida State Law?

  • Minimum Wage: Although the federal minimum wage stands at $7.25 per hour, hourly workers possess the entitlement to receive the Florida rate of $12.00 per hour, provided they meet the eligibility criteria. Most employees are covered under the individual coverage provisions of both state law and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
  • Overtime: Hourly workers are entitled to receive overtime compensation, set at one and a half times their regular wage, for each hour worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek. For instance, if an individual earns $12.00 per hour and completes 50 hours during a specific workweek, they should receive $16.50 per hour for those additional 10 hours.
  • Severance Pay: Similar to salaried employees, full-time hourly workers may qualify for severance pay, often linked to their duration of employment with the company. Severance can be disbursed as a lump sum, spread out over time, or via other methods.
  • Paid Sick Leave: Many hourly workers accrue a certain amount of paid sick leave annually, which can be utilized to mitigate lost wages alongside leave taken under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), even though the latter is unpaid.
  • Vacation Time: Hourly workers may also accumulate paid vacation time, contingent upon the policies established by their employer. The accrual of vacation time for hourly workers might be correlated with the number of hours worked over a specific duration.
  • Paid Maternity/ Paternity Leave: Similar to salaried employees, hourly workers do not have a guaranteed right to paid maternity or paternity leave. The availability of such leave is subject to the discretion of the employer and might be outlined in the employment contract or company policies.
  • Domestic Violence: Hourly employees are accorded the same privileges as salaried counterparts and are eligible to take up to three days of unpaid leave to address situations involving domestic or sexual violence, provided they are employed by a business with more than 50 employees and have completed a minimum of three months of service.
  • Unemployment Benefits: In cases where employees are dismissed through no fault of their own, they may qualify for unemployment benefits. Florida employment laws provide the necessary guidance for employers and employees to navigate legal matters associated with full-time employment in the state.

What are the Provided Hourly Employee Protections Under Florida State Law?

Florida statutes provide a range of safeguards and advantages that encompass the following:

  • Florida laws prohibit employers from discriminating against or retaliating against employees based on various protected categories. Employers are also obligated to ensure equal pay and safeguard whistleblowers reporting misconduct. 
  • The state of Florida mandates the usage of E-Verify and permits pre-employment background checks and drug testing.
  • Florida enforces regulations pertaining to employee compensation and benefits, including wage distribution, deductions from salaries, and the continuation of health insurance coverage.
  • Employees are entitled to specific periods of leave, including domestic violence leave, jury duty leave, witness leave, military leave, and civil air patrol leave. 
  • Smoking is strictly prohibited in workplaces, and texting while driving is also not allowed. Additionally, employees have the right to possess firearms within privately owned vehicles on employer premises.
  • When employment concludes, Florida employers must adhere to relevant provisions regarding final compensation and job references.
  • The state outlines obligations concerning the minimum wage and the employment of minors.

Termination of Employment in Florida

What are the Termination Laws for Hourly Employees in Florida?

According to Florida state regulations, full-time employees are engaged in an at-will work arrangement, allowing employers to hire or end employment without needing a specific reason or required rationale. Nevertheless, exceptions do exist.

In Florida, there exists no particular state rule dictating the timeframe for issuing the final paycheck to employees who have been terminated. As outlined by the Department of Labor, employers are not obliged to furnish discharged employees with their final wage immediately upon termination; instead, it should be provided on the upcoming regular payday. Should an employee not receive their final paycheck on the subsequent scheduled pay date for the last pay period, they have the option to reach out for aid from the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division or the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).

Should Severance Pay Be Provided to Hourly Employees in Florida?

Much like salaried employees, full-time hourly workers also have the potential to receive severance pay, and this compensation is often linked to the duration of their tenure with the company. Severance can be disbursed in various forms, including a lump sum, gradual payments, or other arrangements.

Final Thoughts

To wrap up, comprehending your rights as an hourly worker in Florida is essential for confidently navigating the intricacies of today’s workplace. Having a solid grasp of the regulations that oversee your employment will ensure the preservation and safeguarding of your rights.

The space of employment laws in Florida is ever-changing, and staying current with the latest advancements will provide you with the knowledge needed to make informed choices throughout your professional journey.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.