labor law guide
The Florida employment laws every business owner should know
Wages and breaks
The current minimum wage for tipped employees is $5.54.
If employers choose to pay the tipped minimum wage, they must ensure the tipped employees make $8.56 when the rate is combined with tips received.
Florida law does not prohibit mandatory or voluntary tip pooling.
There are no statutes requiring employers to provide meal periods or breaks to employees 18 years of age or older, but federal law stipulates that non-exempt employees must be paid 1.5 times their normal wages for all hours worked in excess of 40 per workweek.
The federal overtime rule stipulates that the minimum salary requirement for administrative, professional, and executive exemptions is $684 per week, or $35,568 per year. Workers making at least this salary level may be eligible for overtime based on their job duties.
Florida does not require employers to provide meal breaks.
Final paychecks in Florida
Florida law does not stipulate when an employer must pay wages to employees who are no longer working for the employer for any reason.
Florida child labor laws
14- and 15-year-old minors
Minors in the state of Florida who are 14 or 15 years old may not work before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. on days before a school day.
They may not work more than 15 hours a week and no more than three hours on a school day unless they are enrolled in a career education program or if school is not scheduled the following day.
On holidays and summer vacations, they may work between the hours or 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., and no more than 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week.
16- and 17-year-old minors
Minors who are 16 and 17 years of age may not work before 6:30 and after 11 p.m. or for more than 8 hours a day before a school day.
They may not work for more than 30 hours a week when school is in session, and they may not be employed during school hours unless they are enrolled in a career education program.
Florida law prohibits minors from working in these occupations.
Florida has no statute on sick days, but if an employer chooses to provide vacation time (either paid or unpaid), they must comply with the established terms in the employment contract or employee handbook.
Employers may be required to provide employees unpaid leave in accordance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave.
Florida does not have a statute for vacation time, but if an employer chooses to provide vacation time (either paid or unpaid), they must comply with the established terms.
Private employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid holiday leave, but if an employer chooses to do so, they must comply with the established terms.
An employee may not be discharged or penalized for responding to a jury summons or serving as a juror. An employer does not have to pay an employee for time spent responding to a jury summons.
Employers cannot discharge an employee because they testified in response to a subpoena.
Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid time off to vote.
Employers cannot discharge or discriminate against employees because they are members of or are called to active duty in the National Guard or a reserve component of the armed forces. Public school employees are entitled to paid leave for up to 30 days. All other employees may choose to use available paid leave but cannot be required to do so.
After serving in the National Guard, the employee is entitled to return to their job with the same seniority, rights, and benefits they would be entitled to if they had not taken military leave. For one year, the employer may not discharge the employee without cause.
The federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is applicable to all employers in the United States.
Florida requires that employers with at least 50 employees provide their employees with leave when the employee or their family or household member is a victim of domestic or sexual violence. Employees are entitled to up to three days’ leave in any 12-month period to allow them to deal with domestic or sexual violence, such as seeking a protective injunction or obtaining medical or mental health counseling.
To be eligible for the leave, an employee must have worked for the employer for at least three months. The employer must keep the information regarding the employee’s leave confidential. The employer may decide whether the leave is paid or unpaid.
An employer may not interfere with an employee’s attempt to take domestic or sexual violence leave or discharge or discriminate against them for exercising any of their rights related to the leave.
Hiring and firing
Federal law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of: Race, Color, Age, Sex, Sexual orientation, Gender, Gender identity, Religion, National origin, Pregnancy, Genetic information, including family medical history, Physical or mental disability, Child or spousal support withholding, Military or veteran status, Citizenship and/or immigration status.
Florida law further prohibits discrimination based on marital status, AIDS/HIV, and sickle-cell anemia.
Click here to read our blog on what is acceptable and unacceptable to ask during an interview.
Florida is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory.
Regarding employment and payroll data, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and others, you must:
For at least 3 years: keep payroll records, certificates, agreements, notices, collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, and sales and purchase records. Also keep completed copies of each employee’s I-9 for three years after they are hired. If the employee works longer than three years, hold on to the form for at least one year after the employee leaves.
For at least 2 years: Keep basic employment and earning records like timecards, wage-rate tables, shipping and billing records, and records of additions to or deductions from wages. Also keep the records that show why you may pay different wages to employees of different sexes, such as wage rates, job evaluations, seniority and merit systems, and collective bargaining agreements.
For at least 1 year: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says employers should keep all employment records for at least one year from the employee’s date of termination.
Other record-keeping laws that may apply to you:
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, you need to keep records of job-related injuries and illnesses for five years. But some records, like those covering toxic substance exposure, have to be kept for 30 years.
You must keep files of benefit plans and seniority and merit systems while they are in effect and for at least a year after they end. You must also retain summary descriptions and annual reports of benefits plans for six years.
If your company is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, you must also retain relevant records of leaves, notices, policies, and more for three years.
Additional laws that may apply to you.
COBRA is a federal law that allows many employees to continue their health insurance benefits after their employment ends. Because federal COBRA only applies to employers that have 20 or more employees, many states have adopted their own versions of the law, which are known as “mini-COBRAs.” Florida’s mini-COBRA allows employees to continue their coverage for 18 months. The insurance policy must contain a notice of the right to continue coverage. We recommend that employers inform an employee of their COBRA rights as soon as a triggering event occurs.
Employers that have 10 or more employees may not discharge, discriminate, or retaliate against an employee because the employee reported or threatened to report an alleged violation of a law, rule, or regulation to the appropriate governmental agency, participated in the investigation of or proceeding related to the employer’s alleged violation, or opposed or refused to participate in any violation of a law, rule, or regulation.
Florida requires what the state refers to as “Level 2” background checks on school district personnel who are not teachers. Other positions may also require a background check.
Employers with 20 or more employees, or those found by the Florida Division of Safety to have a high rate of work-related injuries, are required to establish and maintain a workplace safety committee. Employees must be compensated for time spent in committee meetings or doing committee work.
Florida is an “all parties” consent state, meaning every person on a phone call must be aware that they are being monitored or recorded and have consented by placing or continuing the phone call.
This means employers may monitor or record phone calls between their own employees only if each employee has been given notice that phone calls may be monitored or recorded. However, phone calls placed by employees to outside parties may not be monitored or recorded unless the outside party has also consented. There are both criminal and civil penalties for violation of this law.
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This summary is not qualified legal advice. Laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality. It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. If you need more compliance help, we recommend consulting with a qualified lawyer, checking with your local government agencies, or signing up for Homebase to get help from our certified HR Pros.