Compliance Watch:
What are my overtime rights in Florida?

April 12th 2024

Overtime regulations are designed to safeguard employees against exploitation and uphold equitable working conditions. In Florida, the absence of state-specific overtime legislation means that federal laws dictate overtime policies. It is crucial to possess a thorough understanding of your entitlements to ensure appropriate compensation for any work performed beyond standard hours.

In this article, we’ll delve into the statutes, regulations, and customary practices in Florida regarding overtime work, providing responses to frequently raised queries. This guidance endeavours to inform employees of their overtime entitlements, enabling them to navigate their professional journeys with assurance.

This Article Covers

Understanding Overtime in Florida
Common Questions About Overtime in Florida 
Legal Working Hours in Florida 
Overtime Eligibility in Florida 
    Overtime Payment Calculations in Florida 
      Receiving Overtime Payment in Florida 
      Violations of Overtime Law in Florida 

      Understanding Overtime in Florida

      Is overtime pay mandatory in Florida?

      Yes, in Florida, an employee is entitled to receive payment for overtime work, as long as they are not exempt from overtime laws. Florida does not have state-specific overtime regulations, therefore, the provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are followed. For employers not covered under the FLSA, the following of overtime rules is not required. However, the majority of employers are covered by this Act, so it is mandatory to fairly compensate all employees who qualify for overtime payment.

      When do I qualify for overtime pay in Florida?

      In Florida, employers and employees are bound by the provisions of the federal FLSA as there are no state laws concerning overtime. Therefore, all non-exempt employees aged 18 or above, qualify for overtime pay in Florida. For overtime to be triggered, an employee must have worked 40 hours in a given workweek. There are no daily overtime rules in Florida. 

      All extra hours worked will be compensated for at ‘time and a half’. This commonly used phrase means that employees must receive 1.5 times their regular rate of pay.  

      There are no limits on the number of hours an employee may work in Florida. However, to prevent exploitation, non-exempt workers need to remember that the overtime rate should be applied to every hour worked over 40 in a workweek. 

      In addition, there are no special rules applicable to weekend, night or holiday work. The standard pay rate for employees will be in effect unless overtime hours are worked during those shifts. However, employers have the flexibility to establish alternative overtime policies if they choose.

      How much is overtime pay in Florida?

      In Florida, overtime compensation must be set at a minimum of one and a half times the employee’s regular pay rate. This overtime rate should be applied to all hours worked beyond the threshold set by the FLSA; 40 hours in a workweek. For example, if an employee’s regular pay rate is $25 per hour, their overtime rate would come to $37.50 per hour.

      While the FLSA does not mandate double-time pay, employers have the option to establish additional agreements for overtime or double-time compensation with their employees or union representatives if they so choose.

      What laws govern overtime in Florida?

      Employees in Florida have the right to be appropriately compensated for all work they have carried out. Florida state laws do not cover overtime, therefore, federal laws apply instead. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the federal law which governs overtime. Under this Act, the following rules apply:

      • All non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay for each hour over 40 worked in a single workweek. 
      • The overtime rate is one and one-half an employee’s regular pay rate. 
      • Overtime pay is not mandatory for work performed on weekends, nights or holidays, unless overtime hours are worked during this time. 
      • There is no limit to the maximum number of hours an employee can be required to work.
      • The FLSA operates on a workweek basis, consisting of a period of 168 hours, or seven consecutive 24-hour periods. This workweek does not need to coincide with the traditional calendar week and can begin on any chosen day. Employers have the flexibility to set varying work weeks for their employees.

      Further details about overtime in Florida can be found in Florida Overtime Laws.

      Common Questions About Overtime in Florida

      Do employers have to pay overtime in Florida?

      In Florida, employers subject to the federal FLSA are mandated by law to compensate non-exempt employees for all overtime hours worked. The FLSA applies to the majority of employers, encompassing those with sales of at least $500,000 a year or who participate in interstate commerce. Despite the perception among small businesses that they may be exempt, the ‘interstate commerce’ factor is very broad. It includes various interstate activities such as telephone communications, mail correspondence, or handling goods destined for other states. As a result, it is uncommon for an organization to be exempt from FLSA, and hence overtime coverage.

      Can an employee refuse to work overtime in Florida?

      If an employee has the discretion to decide whether to work overtime, they have the freedom to make that choice independently. However, if an employer mandates overtime, employees must comply as there are no limitations on working hours in Florida or at the federal level. Refusal to work overtime may result in disciplinary measures, including termination.

      Nevertheless, employees cannot be forced to work overtime if it contradicts the terms of their contract or collective bargaining agreement. Furthermore, certain industries are subject to regulations that state maximum daily working hours for employees. An example of this is the trucking industry. It is unlawful for employers to violate these regulations, as this could jeopardize health and safety standards.

      Can I take comp time instead of overtime pay in Florida?

      Some employers in Florida offer compensatory time, also known as comp time, to their employees as an alternative to payment for overtime work. However, in most cases, especially for non-exempt employees in the private sector, this practice is illegal. Additionally, employees cannot be compelled to accept comp time.

      Government agencies may provide comp time to their employees under certain conditions:

      • An agreement must be arranged between the employer and the employee before the commencement of overtime work.
      • The agreement must be in writing, usually formed by a union representative.

      If these criteria are met, comp time may substitute overtime pay in instances of occasional overtime work. However, for regularly scheduled overtime, comp time can only be granted to employees who work flexible schedules and are required to work overtime.

      Note that if comp time is granted it must be equivalent to the overtime rate. This means that an hour-and-a-half of paid time-off is required for each overtime hour worked. 

      Can I get overtime pay in Florida without employer approval?

      Yes, in Florida a non-exempt employee can be paid for overtime work, regardless of whether they received prior approval. This is based on the federal FLSA, which states that “work not requested but suffered or permitted is work time”. 

      Authorization is not necessary if an employer was aware or should have been aware of an employee working extra hours. However, employees are not allowed to intentionally conceal overtime work from their employer. Furthermore, employees may face disciplinary action for working overtime without obtaining prior approval; an important consideration.

      Does Florida have double-time pay?

      No, there are no state laws in Florida that mandate double-time pay for certain hours or days worked. Neither are there any federal laws or provisions of the FLSA that require double time to be paid to employees. Employers have the option to establish double-time agreements if they choose, but it is not a legal requirement.

      What is working ‘off-the-clock’ in Florida?

      Working off-the-clock is when an employee performs job duties, known to the employer, without receiving compensation. These additional hours are not factored into the employee’s workweek hours. Therefore, this practice is often used by employers to avoid paying overtime, as the off-the-clock work often occurs during periods that should qualify as overtime. Examples of off-the-clock work include:

      • Working through designated meal or rest breaks.
      • Completing pre-shift preparations.
      • Post-shift tasks such as cleaning or closing up a job site.
      • Rework, such as redoing a project or correcting mistakes.

      It is illegal in Florida for employers to request their employees to engage in off-the-clock work. This violates federal wage and hour laws like the FLSA, which governs overtime and other employment regulations in Florida. It is a basic right for employees to be properly compensated for all work performed.

      What are common ways employers avoid paying overtime in Florida?

      To avoid exploitation, it is key for employees in Florida to understand the methods which allow employers to avoid properly compensating their workers. Common strategies used to prevent employees from receiving overtime pay include:

      • Requiring employees to perform ‘off-the-clock’ work: This may involve prep tasks, responding to phone calls, or completing after-shift duties. However, assigning such tasks outside of regular work hours without compensation goes against the law. Employers are legally obligated to record all tasks performed by employees and compensate them appropriately. 
      • Averaging hours worked: This practice is particularly common for those on bi-weekly or bi-monthly pay schedules. For example, if an employee worked 52 hours one week, the employer could only schedule the employee for 25 hours of work the next week. The employee should be entitled to 12 hours of overtime pay from the first week. However, by averaging hours, the employer could ensure that instead, it appears that the employee has worked two 40-hour weeks within that pay period. Consequently, the employer avoids paying overtime and the employee does not receive fair compensation.
      • Providing comp time: Employers may grant time off to employees to prevent them from working hours that would qualify as overtime work. For example, employers might let employees take Friday off work if they completed a double shift on Wednesday so that their weekly hours will not exceed the 40-hour regular pay limit.
      • Misclassifying workers as salaried employees: In Florida, salaried employees who earn above $684 per week are exempt from overtime. Therefore, employers may misclassify employees who earn less than this threshold as salaried workers, to avoid paying overtime rates. This practice is illegal under the federal laws which govern overtime in Florida.

      Can you work 7 days in a row in Florida?

      There are no state or federal laws which limit the number of days in a row an employee over the age of 18 can work in Florida. However, employees under 18 cannot work more than 6 days in a row. If a non-exempt employee is required to work 7 consecutive days, they should keep track of their hours to ensure overtime pay is received for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

      How many 10-hour days can you work in a row in Florida?

      Some states have established a special overtime rule whereby an employee on a valid alternative schedule can work four 10-hour shifts in a week. For such employees, working more than 10 hours in a day or over 40 hours in a workweek will trigger overtime, unless they are exempt. However, Florida has not established this overtime rule and there are also no provisions allowing for this arrangement at the federal level.

      What are full-time hours in Florida?

      According to the IRS and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often referred to as the health reform, full-time employment is defined as working at least 30 hours per week, or 130 hours per month.

      Regarding insurance matters, a full-time worker in Florida is someone with a regular work week of 25 hours or more.

      How many hours straight can you legally work in Florida?

      In Florida, there are no laws limiting the number of hours that the majority of employees can work. Therefore, individuals could technically work up to 24 hours per day. However, there are some circumstances which limit the number of hours straight an employee can work:

      • Workers in regulated industries, such as truckers, often have a maximum number of hours they can work before a certain amount of time-off is required. 
      • Employees with collective bargaining agreements or specific contracts, may have limits to the number of hours per day permitted to work. 
      • Those aged 16 or 17 years old can only work up to 30 hours per week during school time.
      • Those under 18 cannot work more than 6 days in a row.

      Is overtime after 8 hours or 40 hours in Florida?

      Florida overtime rules are based on federal laws, consequently there are no daily overtime rules like in some other states. Under the federal FLSA, there is a weekly overtime rule. Non-exempt workers are entitled to receive overtime pay for all hours over 40 worked in a single work week. 

      Does working on the weekend qualify for overtime pay in Florida?

      No, working on the weekend does not automatically qualify an employee in Florida to receive overtime pay. There are no special rules regarding working on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays. The normal overtime rules apply for all days of the calendar week. 

      If an employee eligible for overtime has already accumulated 40 hours in a workweek before the weekend commences, any hours worked during the weekend will be considered as overtime. Employers can schedule different workweeks for employees, therefore, it is essential to be aware of this schedule to properly calculate your overtime earnings. 

      How many hours-off between shifts is required in Florida?

      There is no federal law which regulates the number of hours required between shifts. Therefore, employers are not technically obligated to provide employees time-off between consecutive shifts. 

      However, regulated industries, such as truck driving, may set a limit on the number of hours an employee can work in a day or between shifts. Workers in unions may also have stipulations in their collective bargaining agreements regarding time-off between shifts. 

      What does “hours-worked” include in Florida?

      “Hours-worked” refers to all the time an employee is on duty or at a worksite. This also includes any extra time an employee is suffered or permitted to work. In some instances, travel time, meal breaks or rest breaks can be included in hours-worked. Employees must be appropriately compensated for all hours-worked. Florida generally follows the standards set out in the federal FLSA, but there are some differences:

      • Meal breaks: Meal breaks are not a legal requirement, although employers often do grant one to employees during a full workday. Meal breaks are not counted as hours-worked unless the employee must remain on the premises or on duty during this period. However, if an employee is under 18 years old, they must be granted a mandatory 30 minute meal break every four hours. 
      • Rest breaks: Employees are not entitled to receive rest periods during work shifts, but if short breaks of around 5 to 20 minutes are offered, they should be included in hours-worked. 
      • Travel time: Normal travel time to or from work is not typically included in hours-worked in Florida. However, travel time is covered if:
        • An employee is required to travel during regular working hours.
        • An employee is required to work during travel time.
        • An employee is required to travel on a 1-day assignment away from the official workplace.
        • An employee is required to travel on an overnight assignment away from the official workplace during hours on non-workdays that correspond to the regular working hours.

      What is the most hours a salaried employee can work in Florida? 

      Florida typically aligns with federal employment and overtime regulations. These laws do not establish a maximum number of hours a salaried employee can work per day or week. Consequently, salaried employees are expected to fulfil all assigned work set by their employer.

      Non-exempt salaried employees are entitled to receive overtime compensation for any hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. Exempt employees (those who earn over at least $35,568 annually) are not eligible for overtime pay for hours exceeding this threshold.

      It is advisable to keep accurate records of your work hours. Upon calculation, if you find that you are receiving less than the minimum wage per hour, you may be able to file a wage claim.

      What is the maximum hours an hourly employee can work in Florida?

      In Florida there are no state laws governing working hours or overtime limits, so employees must abide by federal laws. In terms of working hours for hourly employees, there are no limits set out by federal laws. Therefore, non-exempt hourly employees over 18 years old in Florida can work up to any number of hours per day or week. 

      However, there are some exceptions, including for those in regulated industries or with collective bargaining agreements where there are daily hour limits in place. In addition, in Florida, those under 18 cannot work more than 6 days in a row and 16 or 17 year olds can only work up to 30 hours per week during school time.

      While Florida does not impose a limit on the maximum number of hours an individual can work, non-exempt hourly employees are entitled to receive overtime compensation for any hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.

      Overtime Eligibility in Florida

      Who is eligible for overtime pay in Florida?

      When it comes to overtime, employees are divided into two categories: exempt or non-exempt. All non-exempt workers are entitled to receive overtime pay and are usually hourly-employees, performing duties involving manual labor or customer service. Employees who are at least 16 years old are eligible to receive overtime pay, unless they fall into the exempt category. However, in Florida, 16 and 17 year olds can only work up to 30 hours per week during school time, so they cannot reach the 40 hour threshold required to receive overtime pay. 

      Who is exempt from overtime pay in Florida?

      In Florida, overtime regulations are determined by the federal FLSA. The FLSA outlines various types of employees who are exempt from overtime laws and hence from receiving overtime pay. Exempt employees tend to be in ‘white-collar jobs”, in administrative, professional or executive positions. In addition, workers in these professions must posses certain qualities  to be exempt from overtime, determined by the following three tests:

      1. The salary basis test: The employee must be compensated with a set salary, regardless of the hours or the amount of work completed. In other words, they must be classified as a salaried, not an hourly employee.
      2. The salary test: The employee needs to earn a salary which meets the minimum requirement of the exemption threshold, which is $684 per week or $35,568 annually in 2024.
      3. The duties test: The duties performed by the employee must involve mainly administrative, professional or executive tasks, requiring the use of discretion and independent judgement.

      There are a number of other jobs which are classified as exempt from overtime, including: 

      • Airline employees
      • Babysitters on a casual basis
      • Commissioned sales employees
      • Computer professionals
      • Companions for the elderly
      • Drivers, drivers helpers and loaders
      • Live-in domestic employees
      • Farmworkers employed on small farms
      • Federal criminal investigators
      • Fishermen
      • Fruit & vegetable transportation employees
      • Motion picture theatre employees
      • Outside sales employees
      • Railroad employees
      • Salesmen and mechanics
      • Switchboard operators
      • Taxicab drivers

      Further information on jobs which are categorised as exempt as well as specific regulations that apply can be found on the official US Department of Labor website. 

      Can salaried employees get overtime pay in Florida?

      Yes, salaried employees can be applicable to receive overtime pay in Florida based on the rules outlined by the federal FLSA. If salaried employees in Florida do not meet all 3 of the following requirements, they will be categorised as non-exempt and be eligible to receive overtime pay: 

      • Earn a minimum salary of at least $684 per week or $35,568 per year.
      • Be employed in a professional, administrative, or executive position.
      • Perform tasks that necessitate the use of independent judgment and discretion.

      Overtime Payment Calculations in Florida

      What is my regular rate of pay in Florida?

      The regular rate of pay is the amount an employee earns for each hour worked. This must at least meet the minimum wage in Florida. While establishing the regular hourly rate is simple for hourly employees, as it is their normal hourly wage, can be more challenging to calculate. for other types of employees and earnings:

      • Salaried employees:
        • Initially, multiply the monthly salary by 12 to determine the annual salary.  
        • Next, divide the annual salary by 52 (the total number of weeks in a year) to obtain the weekly salary. 
        • Lastly, to reach the regular hourly rate, divide the weekly salary by the maximum number of standard hours you work in a week (40 hours).
      • Piecework or commission employees (three methods):
        • The rate of the piece or commission.
        • The result of the amount earned in a workweek divided by the number of hours worked. 
        • If working as part of a group, begin by calculating the group rate. This is done by dividing the total number of pieces by the number of people in the group. Then multiply this rate by the number of hours an individual worked to calculate their individual regular rate of pay.

      How to calculate overtime in Florida?

      In Florida, in accordance with federal laws, overtime is compensated at 1.5 times the employee’s regular pay rate, commonly known as ‘time and a half’. Non-exempt employees are eligible for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek.

      To determine an employee’s overtime pay, follow these steps:

      1. Calculate the regular rate of pay for the employee.
      2. Multiply this regular rate by 1.5 to reach the hourly overtime rate.
      3. Finally, multiply the overtime rate by the number of overtime hours worked to determine the total amount of overtime pay owed to the employee.

      How is overtime taxed in Florida?

      In Florida, overtime wages are taxed at the same rates as regular income. The amount of tax paid is based on your tax bracket, which is determined by your taxable income and filing status.

      However, if overtime earnings significantly boost your total income, you might enter a higher tax bracket. This means your entire income will face higher taxes, not just your overtime pay. It’s important to note that shifting into a higher tax bracket is temporary and only applies to the specific pay period in which the extra income was earned.

      Receiving Overtime Payment in Florida

      How is overtime paid in Florida?

      Overtime is paid using the same method that regular wages are paid in Florida; this may differ depending on the preference of individual employers or employees and on the normal practices of a company. Usually, wages, including overtime, are delivered by a direct deposit to the employee’s bank account or by a paycheck covering the pay period in which the wages were earned. Direct debit is becoming increasingly popular as a convenient method for depositing and receiving wages. Employees must also be provided with either a digital or paper itemized wage statement, known as a paystub. 

      When do I receive my overtime paycheck in Florida?

      Since overtime regulations in Florida are determined by federal laws, the FLSA is the law which sets out paycheck requirements. According to the FLSA, employees in Florida typically should receive overtime paychecks on their regular payday for the pay period in which the overtime wages were earned.

      Violations of Overtime Law in Florida

      What if my employer refuses to pay me overtime in Florida?

      In Florida if your employer has not paid your overtime wages, you must provide notice to your employer before proceeding with further actions. The notice should explicitly state that you plan to bring a lawsuit or a complaint with the federal Department of Labor (DOL). It must also include:

      • The amount of overtime you are owed.
      • The dates you worked overtime.
      • The hours you worked on those dates.

      After receiving a notification, employers are legally allowed 15 days to respond, during which they must either pay the total amount of overtime wages owed or settle the dispute to your satisfaction. You can then decide whether you want to proceed with further action by:

      • Filing a wage complaint with the federal DOL, as Florida does not have a state agency to handle employee complaints or enforce wage and hour laws. The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the DOL enforces federal law by investigating wage claims. 
      • Filing a lawsuit with the Florida state court system for unpaid overtime.

      What is the penalty for failing to pay overtime in Florida?

      Florida follows federal overtime laws determined by the FLSA. According to the US DOL, employers who wilfully or repeatedly break the FLSA by failing to pay their employees their rightful overtime wages, can face a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation. 

      Furthermore, intentional breaches could lead to criminal charges, with the employer fined up to $10,000. A repeat offence may result in imprisonment. A deliberate violation includes all employment actions performed purposefully or knowingly rather than accidentally or involuntarily.

      In addition to penalties, if an employer fails to pay your overtime wages, you are entitled to receive not only back wages (your unpaid wages), but also liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are the same amount as the unpaid wages, meaning that in total you will receive double the amount of your original missing overtime pay.

      How can I file a wage claim for overtime in Florida?

      In Florida, an employee or former employee is able to file a wage claim to recover unpaid overtime wages. However, the wage claim needs to be filed with the US Department of Labor (DOL) because Florida does not have a state agency that deals with employee complaints or that enforces wage and hour laws. The claim process follows these initial steps:

      1. Gather as much relevant information as possible; the key to a successful claim.
      2. Contact the DOL by submitting an online form, or calling the helpline at 1-866-487-9243. 
      3. Once initial contact is established, the DOL representative assigned to your case will collaborate with you to identify the best course of action.

      Can employers retaliate against employees for making a wage claim in Florida?

      No, in Florida under both federal and state law, it is forbidden for employers to retaliate against employees or former employees for filing or threatening to file a wage claim. The federal FLSA states that it is unlawful for any person to “discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint”. In Florida, you are protected against retaliation as long as you have provided your employer with the written notice detailing the unpaid overtime wages and stating that you plan to file a lawsuit or a complaint with the federal DOL.

      If an employee experiences any retaliation, such as termination, due to filing a claim or participating in an investigation, they are legally allowed to submit a retaliation complaint to the Wage and Hour Division of the DOL. Alternatively, they may choose to independently pursue legal action to seek reinstatement, compensation for lost wages, and liquidated damages.

      Learn more about Florida Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

      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.