Are you losing out on wages? Every year, employers in Florida steal millions of dollars in pay from their workers by violating State and federal labor laws. This is called “wage theft,” and it’s particularly acute in Florida’s main industries, tourism, retail and construction, researchers at Florida International University say.
Florida Wage & Hour Lawyers
Thankfully, Florida State law allows workers to pursue their stolen wages in court. If your employer violated the law, you and your co-workers can secure valuable compensation by filing a civil wage and hour lawsuit. Our experienced legal team can help.
While the attorneys at WageAdvocates.com are not licensed to practice in the State of Florida, we routinely collaborate with a national alliance of wage and hour lawyers who can help employees across the country, including people in Florida. To learn more about your legal options, call our experienced team today or complete our contact form. We’ll help you understand your rights as a Florida worker and outline possible steps to move forward. Your consultation comes at no charge and no obligation.
Minimum Wage In Florida
Florida’s minimum wage for 2018 is $8.25 per hour, which is higher than the federal minimum wage, enshrined in the Fair Labor Standards Act as $7.25. When State and federal law conflict, the vast majority of workers in Florida become entitled to the higher rate. Florida’s minimum wage changes annually, based on calculations conducted by the State’s Department of Economic Opportunity that account for yearly variation in the cost of goods and services, according to the SunSentinel.
Can Florida Employers Take A Tip Credit?
Like the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, Florida’s minimum wage law allows employers to take a “tip credit” for eligible employees. When a worker usually makes over $30 per month in tips, their employer is allowed to pay a cash wage of $5.23. However, the employees’ hourly wages, including both cash wages and tips, must always add up to at least the applicable minimum wage. So if the wage rate of $5.23, plus the worker’s hourly tips, don’t actually reach the minimum wage, the employer is legally obligated to make up the difference. Let’s take a look at an example to see how these “tip credits” can work in practice:
Assume that you work for Florida’s 2018 minimum wage, $8.25 per hour, at a restaurant in Tampa. In a normal month, you make around $400 in tips, far higher than the $30 threshold set by Florida law (borrowed from the federal Fair Labor Standards Act) for tipped workers. As a result, your employer is allowed to take a tip credit.
In one week, you work 36 hours and make $90 in tips. To figure out if your employer can take the full tip credit ($3.02) allowed by Florida law, we first need to find out how much you made in tips per hour. That’s simple. Just divide $90 by 36 hours to get $2.50 per hour. Now subtract that number from the minimum wage, $8.25, your nominal cash wage at the restaurant. That works out to $5.75. So your employer can’t take the full $3.02 per hour tip credit. Why not? Because that would leave your cash wage at $5.08. Even with your hourly tips ($2.50) added in, you wouldn’t be making the State minimum wage of $8.25. You’d only be making $7.58. Your employer has to make up the difference. In the end, your employer can pay you $5.75 per hour, for a total cash wage of $207 for your 36 hours of work.
As we can see, wage calculations can become pretty complicated very quickly.
Florida Overtime Law
Overtime pay in Florida is relatively simple. The State follows federal law, as set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act. According to federal law, the vast majority of workers in America become entitled to a higher (or “premium”) wage after working over 40 hours in a single workweek. So if you work 41 hours in a week, you deserve a premium wage for that 41st hour.
The overtime rate is defined as 1.5-times your normal rate of pay, or “time-and-a-half.” Usually make $9 per hour? Your overtime wage should be $13.50, which is 1.5 times $9. The picture is a little more complex if you make a bonus or commission during the week, but for now, the simple portrait we’ve painted should suffice.
Overtime For Salaried Employees
Calculating an overtime rate is really easy for people who just make an hourly wage. It gets a little more complicated, but not impossible, for workers who make a salary. Before we move forward, it would be good to point out that many salaried workers are entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Even so, lots of people who make a salary don’t understand their legal rights. Some employers outright lie to their salaried workers about this, so it’s worth repeating. Making a salary doesn’t automatically exclude you from overtime.
Who Is Entitled To Overtime Pay?
In American labor law, there are two types of employee: exempt and non-exempt. Non-exempt workers get overtime. Exempt workers don’t. Employers are allowed to classify their workers as either exempt or non-exempt. Misclassification, though, is rampant. Employers routinely classify non-exempt workers as exempt to steal their wages and increase profits. This happens to salaried employees all the time. To learn more about exemptions from the Fair Labor Standards Act, click here.
Florida Labor Laws On Breaks
Florida doesn’t really have any wage and hour laws that speak to the question of rest or meal breaks, except when the worker is a minor under the age of 18. Minor employees who work in Florida are entitled to a 30-minute meal break for every 4 consecutive hours that they work. There’s no similar law that pertains to adult employees.
Find More Information
Millions of Florida workers are being ripped off right now. Tens of thousands are making sub-minimum wages. Others are being underpaid for overtime. In some cases, employers simply refuse to pay. These are all violations of State and federal labor law. We can help.
Learn more about pursuing your stolen back wages in a free consultation with the attorneys at WageAdvocates.com now. If we can help, our lawyers offer their services on a contingency-fee basis; you pay nothing until we win your case.