Overtime Wages (FLSA)
Most Florida employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek of at least one and one–half times their regular rates of pay. The authority for this principle of law is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The Act contains many exceptions to this principle. (E.g., executive, administrative, and professional employees, seamen engaged on foreign vessels, taxi drivers, etc.) Legal battles are fought over the exceptions and other issues such as hours worked and rate of pay.
Claims for overtime wages under the FLSA are limited to the two to three year period immediately preceding the filing of suit. (The two or three years determination turns on whether the employer's violation was willful.)
Many overtime wages disputes involve relatively small sums of money. Knowing that most lawyers could not afford to handle the small sum cases on a contingency fee basis, Congress authorized employer-paid attorney's fees to the successful employee litigant.
It is also unlawful for an employee to be fired for bringing an FLSA claim. 29 USC Sections 215(a)(3) and 216(b). The purpose of the FLSA's anti-retaliation provision is to prevent employees from being subjected to economic retaliation for voicing legitimate grievances. See Lambert v. Ackerley, 180 F.3d 997, 1003 (9th Cir. Wash. 1999)
- Rate of Overtime Pay: Covered nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per workweek at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay.
- No Limit on Hours: There is no limit on the number of hours employees 16 years or older may work in any workweek.
- The FLSA does not require overtime pay for work on weekends, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is worked on such days.
- Calculating Hours: Hours worked ordinarily include all the time during which an employee is required to be on the employer’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace.
- FLSA does not require:
- vacation, holiday, severance, or sick pay;
- meal or rest periods, holidays off, or vacations;
- premium pay for weekend or holiday work;
- pay raises or fringe benefits; or
- a discharge notice, reason for discharge, or immediate payment of final wages to terminated employees.
- Exemptions: Some employees are exempt from the overtime pay provisions or both the minimum wage and overtime pay provisions (e.g., executive, administrative, and professional employees, seamen engaged on foreign vessels, taxi drivers, etc.)
- Wrongful Termination/Discrimination: It is a violation to fire or in any other manner discriminate against an employee for filing a complaint or for participating in a legal proceeding under FLSA.