At Feldman Legal Group, we believe in empowering workers to get the pay they deserve. One of the most important steps any employee can take to secure their pay is to understand wage laws in their state and ensure their employer is following those laws.
Each state has different laws surrounding pay structure including what workers are entitled to overtime pay and what the overtime pay looks like, though federal law provides most overtime pay rights. We want to run through those laws and help workers secure the money they’re owed.
Fair Labor Standards Act
Florida law doesn’t outline overtime pay for the workweek, so the federal standard applies throughout the state. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes the 40-hour workweek limit and requires employers to pay non-exempt employees 1.5 times their base pay for any time worked above the 40-hour limit.
It’s important to know the FLSA allows employers to define the workweek themselves, meaning it doesn’t have to be Monday through Sunday or Sunday through Saturday. Instead, employers may start the workweek on any day as long as the workweek is consistently seven consecutive 24-hour time periods. Overtime is not required to be paid out on weekends or holidays unless overtime is worked on those days (meaning a weekend shift does not automatically qualify as overtime if it does not take you over the 40-hour limit that week).
If your employer pays you bi-weekly, they still must track hours worked over 40 hours by the individual week. This means your employer cannot average the hours over two weeks in order to reduce overtime pay.
It’s important to know who doesn’t qualify for overtime pay. The state follows federal regulations on defining four particularly vague categories: professional, executive, computer employees, and administrative employees.
Professional and executive employees are employees who have advanced knowledge and/or skillset gained through years of experience. This skill set should be used to direct departments within the organization. Executives must have hiring and firing powers to qualify. Computer employees are software engineers, computer programmers, or analysts. Administrative employees are those who work in accounting, quality control, human resources, personnel management, or labor relations.
What’s important to note is you are not automatically exempt from overtime pay if you’re a “salaried” employee. This is a common misconception. Florida follows federal law which changed on January 1, 2020, to stipulate that salaried employees who still qualify for overtime pay must:
- Receive less than $684 per week
- Receive less than $35,568 per year
- Receive less than $1,043 per week for employees in the motion picture industry
- Make under $107,432 per year for “highly-compensated employees”
Highly-compensated employees are employees who own more than 5% of a company and the $107,432 limit can be achieved through a weekly salary (at or above the $684 minimum) along with commissions, bonuses, and other compensation outside of their weekly base pay.
Non-exempt employees are anyone not included in the list above. This means you must be paid one-and-a-half times your base rate for any hours worked over 40 hours in a given week. Florida law provides overtime over 10 hours worked in a single day, as well.
The only exemption non-exempt employees need to be aware of is that 10% of overtime pay for non-exempt employees is permitted to be docked when bonuses and commissions are paid. This means if you are owed $5,000 in overtime pay throughout the year but received a $2,000 bonus, 10% of your $5,000 overtime wages can be subtracted because a bonus or commission was greater than 10% of the overtime pay owed. This leaves you with $4,500 in overtime pay.
The best way to protect your paycheck and fight for the wages you earned is to hire an experienced employment law attorney. At Feldman Legal Group, we help Floridians secure the compensation they deserve. Contact us if you feel you’ve been underpaid at your job.