The state of Florida created state labor laws to protect workers’ rights within the state. Employees in Florida should look carefully at what rights they have in regards to their employment and work environment. The laws of the state outline the procedures employees can use to protect these rights.
Part-time vs. Full-time in Florida
In Florida, there is no state law that determines how many hours an employee needs to work to be a full-time employee. Most companies will hold that 40 hours per week is full-time and less than that is part-time. But in certain types of jobs, less than 40 hours per week may still be considered full-time. Employees should reach out to their HR department to find out if they are considered full-time or part-time employees in the company.
Minimum Wage in Florida
In 2017 Florida’s minimum wage has been raised to $8.10 per hour. For employees that rely on tips, the minimum wage is $5.08 per hour.
Overtime in Florida
Florida does not have any specific laws about mandatory overtime but follows the federal law instead. Under federal law an employer can require an employee to work as many hours as the employer asks.
Any employee that works over 40 hours per week is owed overtime pay. Florida calculates overtime pay as one and a half times the regular paid hourly rate. If you are a salaried employee and you make less than $50,440 per year you are entitled to overtime pay when you work over 40 hours per week.
Health Benefits in Florida
As of now, any employer that has more than 50 or more full-time employees must offer health insurance. This plan must cover at least 60% of typical health costs. But, these benefits are not owed to part-time employees.
It is important to note that the health insurance laws may change soon and employees should consult with a local lawyer in case of any new laws that pass.
Discrimination in Florida
It is illegal to discriminate against employees in the workforce in Florida. If you have faced discrimination by an employer you should first file with the local state agency, the Florida Commission on Human Relations. Then the Commission will investigate your claims. Also, an employee can file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission instead.
Florida has two laws that protect public and private employees from being punished because they have complained about discrimination at work.
Be careful to file your claims in time. If you eventually need to sue under the state law, then you have to file a complaint with either agency within one year from the date that the discrimination happened. If you need to sue under federal law, you need to file within 300 days from the date that the discrimination happened.
Also, in Florida the amount you can sue for punitive damages is limited to $100,000. And if you are suing the State of Florida or any governmental agency in Florida, the entire amount is limited to $100,00.
Time Off in Florida
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) only covers employees that are employed by companies that have 50 or more employees and conduct business in multiple states. Under FMLA an employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, medical and health benefits during that leave and the right to go back to their job when they return. FMLA applies to workers that have worked at least 1,250 hours over a 12-month period so it could possibly cover part-time employees.
Florida also provides domestic violence leave for companies with at least 50 employees. An employee that is involved in a domestic violence situation is entitled to 3 days off in a 12-month period. It is up to the employer whether that time off is paid or unpaid.
Where Can I Find a Local Lawyer to Help Me?
If you think you are not getting the basic rights and protections offered by your state’s labor laws, then contact a local Florida lawyer today.