Are You Being Paid What You Have Earned?
Making Sure Your Paycheck is Correct
Review your paycheck! Look closely. Is it less than you anticipated? Perhaps your company is not paying the newly mandated Florida minimum wage. Maybe you have not been compensated correctly, at time and one-half, for your overtime? These errors, and others, can result in inaccurate pay. Your employer may not be compensating you appropriately.
If you believe you haven’t received all the wages you are due, we can help. Contact our unpaid wages lawyer at Feldman Legal Group for skilled, experienced representation. Call us today at 877-946-8293.
Throughout the country and in the state of Florida, employees have the right to prompt, full payment of earned wages. Some employers are unfamiliar with employee wage and hour rights. But, ignorance is not an excuse for not paying employees what they are owed. And, unfortunately, others willfully try to evade the laws. Unpaid wages in Florida are not an anomaly. Salaries are a significant expense in operating a business; some employers will go to any extent to minimize them and, in turn, increase their net income.
If you recognize a discrepancy you are in luck. An employer who withholds wages to which you are entitled can be ordered to pay you back every cent – and then some.
Employers found guilty of wage violations can be assessed penalties, paid to you, as well as assigned responsibility for paying your legal costs.
Florida law protects those who work within the state. If you believe your employer is not paying you the wages you have earned, contact the attorneys at Feldman Legal Group at 877-946-8293. We have a proven reputation for helping our clients recover unpaid wages.
Basis For a Labor Law Case
Can You Sue for Your Unpaid Wages?
The answer to this often asked question is yes. However, you must understand the basics regarding unpaid wages. You want to be sure that you are, in fact, legally entitled to the monies which you believe you have been denied. And, you want to confirm that you are being paid appropriately for the work you are doing. That said, your first step, if an issue arises, should be to speak with your employer. After all, mistakes can happen and can be rectified. However, if your employer is not receptive to your questions, you may want to contact a labor lawyer.
According to our Tampa unpaid wages attorney, you may have a labor law case if your Florida employer has deprived you of any of the following.
- The minimum wage of $8.65 an hour
- A 50% high wage for overtime hours worked
- Earned commissions, as promised
- Performance-based bonus, as promised
- Equal pay for equivalent work
- Payment for employer-allowed breaks
- Payment for a “working lunch”
- Payment for accrued vacation hours
If you believe your employer has denied you your rightful wage, seek help from an experienced unpaid wages attorney. The Feldman Legal Group in Tampa, FL, represents employees for wage and hour violations, as well as for many other employment law issues, such as wrongful termination. If necessary, we can help sue your employer for unpaid wages.
Often many people are hesitant to raise concerns regarding unpaid wages, both with their employer and especially with legal professionals. Concern regarding their job security and being able to provide for themselves and their families can be overwhelming. Does this sound like you? Rest assured, you should not worry.
In fact, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for reporting a wage violation. Don’t hesitate to confirm you are being paid appropriately. If you have questions regarding your wages, speak with a Feldman Legal Group unpaid wages lawyer. Call us at (877) 946-8293 or contact us online today.
Minimum Wage Laws
Has Your Salary Increased as Required By Law?
Established by the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal minimum wage is $7.25, but most states, including Florida, set a higher minimum wage. The Act states that “in cases where an employee is subject to both state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher minimum wage”.
As of January 1, 2021, Florida employees are entitled to receive $8.65 per hour for full- or part-time work. This increase is the result of the November 2020 passage of Amendment 2 which also provides for subsequent increases in years to come. On September 30th of 2021, the minimum wage will increase $1.35 to $10.00 per hour. Every September 30th, through 2026 it will continue to rise until 2026 when it reaches $15.00 per hour. The dates of change and new minimum wages will be:
- $11.00 on September 30, 2022
- $12.00 on September 30, 2023
- $13.00 on September 30, 2024
- $14.00 on September 30, 2025
- $15.00 on September 30, 2026
Currently, service workers who receive tips also must earn at least $8.65 an hour, factoring in the tips collected.
The employer must pay a base salary of $5.63 per hour, and then make up the difference if an employee does not earn $8.65 hourly after tips are calculated.
If you believe you may have a minimum wage claim, talk with our employment attorneys, they can review your situation and provide direction on how to move forward.
Exempt Versus Nonexempt Employment Status
Understanding the Difference
The basic difference between these two classifications of employment lies in the ability to be paid for working overtime (more than 40 hours in a given workweek). That said, the facts that distinguish the two are important to understand; you want to be classified correctly in order to be paid appropriately.
Nonexempt employees are eligible for overtime pay. This means they earn at least time and one half for all hours worked over 40 during their workweek. Exempt employees receive a straight salary, hours worked in excess of 40 are not eligible for overtime pay.
The Fair Labor Standards Act sets forth two issues to help classify employees:
This is used to determine the type of work for which the employee is responsible. Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA identifies certain positions which can be exempt:
- outside sales employees
The Department of Labor’s Fact Sheet 17A outlines specific roles and responsibilities in each of the above categories.
Currently, the minimum federal salary requirement for an employee to be considered exempt, and not be overtime-eligible, is $684 per week which results in an annual income of $35,568 per year.
It is important to understand that these “rules” are not all-inclusive.
Exemptions don’t apply to certain professions, like first responders.
Your unpaid wage attorney can provide additional information regarding your job classification.
Payment for Overtime and Income
Is Your Employment Classification Correct?
Under federal labor laws, hourly-paid employees must receive not less than 1.5 times their regular wage for every working hour that exceeds their normal 40-hour workweek. (This is true whether your work schedule is weekdays, weekends, day or night shifts.) According to the Department of Labor, “Normally, overtime pay earned in a particular workweek must be paid on the regular payday for the pay period in which the wages were earned.”
On the other hand, overtime laws do not apply to “exempt” employees, who receive a set salary instead of an hourly wage. However, many employees are misclassified as exempt, either inadvertently or intentionally. If you are a misclassified exempt employee, you may be owed back pay for overtime.
Employees who are promised a performance-based bonus or sales commissions also have legal recourse if this compensation is withheld. If you can prove you completed the work or sale, you should be entitled to the earned money.
Breaks and Vacation Time
Are They Mandated?
You might be surprised to know that local employers are not obligated to provide meal and rest breaks under federal law. While some state laws require these breaks, Florida does not. However, most Florida employers provide for unpaid lunch breaks, and many allow other short rest breaks during the workday.
The laws pertaining to break time are as follows:
- If workers are given short breaks (under 20 minutes), they must be paid for these breaks.
- Any time an employee must work during lunch, such as during a client meeting or while answering phones at a desk, lunch is considered paid time.
Both short paid break time and working through lunch at meetings or providing administrative assistance should be counted toward time worked each week. If this time puts your hours worked over 40, you should be eligible for overtime pay.
Finally, paid vacations are also not required by law. That said, the policy of your company would determine your unused vacation time compensation. If your employer has a written policy providing for paid vacation time, you should be able to collect on hours you have accrued and not taken. If your employer is refusing to pay you for earned and unused vacation, contact Feldman Legal Group, your attorney for unpaid wages, today.
Equal Pay Provisions
Are You Being Paid Less Because of Your Gender?
Wage differentials based on sex are prohibited by the Fair Labor Standards Act. This means that men and women employed in the same establishment, responsible for jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility, should receive the same wages and benefits. These provisions and other statutes prohibiting discrimination in employment are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If you don’t receive equal pay, you may be owed back pay. Talk to our unpaid wages attorney to find out if you have a case.
Employer Penalties for Unpaid Wages
Florida Law Protects Employees
In Florida, an employer who violates wage laws may owe penalties to the state, and you can be awarded liquidated damages for proven losses. With these damages, you may be eligible to receive double the amount of pay you are owed.
So, if your employer owed you $3,000 in unpaid overtime, liquidated damages would bring this total to $6,000.
Under Section 448.08 of the 2020 Florida Statutes, a prevailing plaintiff will also routinely receive reimbursement for attorney fees and other legal costs. So, if you bring suit against your employer and win, you can recover reasonable legal fees.
Unpaid Wage and Hour Claims
What Are Your Options?
Can you sue for unpaid wages? Knowing your options is critical, especially when you are pursuing unpaid wages in Florida. Certain actions can affect others. For example, in Florida, you can file a wage and hour claim with a local U.S. Department of Labor office. That said, however, it is important to note that an employee may not bring a civil lawsuit for back wages if the Secretary of Labor has already filed suit to recover the wages.
Some paths require notifying your employer, while others do not. And finally, timing matters. The unpaid wages claim time limits vary depending on your situation. To ensure you meet all deadlines and receive your full compensation, it is a good idea to speak to a qualified attorney.
Talk To a Skilled Tampa Unpaid Wages Lawyer
Filing an Unpaid Wages Lawsuit
The employment laws regarding unpaid wages can be difficult to understand. If you want to recover your back pay, you should fully understand your rights. Tampa unpaid wages lawyers at Feldman Legal Group can provide advice and counsel on your specific situation. Whether you just need guidance, assistance writing an unpaid wages demand letter, or full-fledged representation, we can help. Contact us today at 877-946-8293.