Tampa & St. Petersburg Wage & Hour Attorney
Ensuring compliance with minimum wage and leave requirements
In Tampa, Saady & Saxe, P.A. is a leader in state and federal wage and hour law issues. Our Tampa wage & hour attorneys champion workers who have been denied their due pay, and we counsel businesses on preventive measures that maintain compliance with laws and with their employment contracts.
Florida wage laws
Florida’s minimum wage is $7.79 per hour as of January 1, 2013. Employees who earn tips and gratuities can receive a reduced minimum wage of $4.77 per hour.
The state makes limited provisions for other pay and leave benefits, and Florida:
- Does not require meal breaks for workers over age 18
- Has no laws requiring employers to provide employees with vacation benefits
- Does not require employers to provide paid or unpaid sick leave or holiday leave
Employers can and do establish their own vacation and leave policies. When those policies are incorporated into an employment contract, the employer is required to comply with those provisions or face civil action by the employee. Contact our Tampa & Florida wage law attorneys for more information.
Federal wage laws
The Fair Labor Standards Act, administered by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, makes numerous provisions for employees’ wages and leaves when they work in the private sector or in federal, state or local governments. In the private sector, the FLSA applies only to companies engaged in any way in interstate commerce that have more than $500,000 in annual business. Therefore, employees of smaller enterprises are not covered by the FLSA. Additionally, the act provides for numerous exemptions, including executives, professionals and seasonal workers.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Florida’s minimum wage is higher and charges annually. Employees covered by the FLSA also are entitled to overtime pay of 1.5 times their regular pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a work week.
Federal law does not require an employer to provide meal or other breaks. Breaks of fewer than 20 minutes must be paid.
Another federal law, the Family and Medical Leave Act — also administered by the Wage and Hour Division — requires private employers of 50 or more workers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to qualified employees for:
- Their own serious illnesses
- The birth or adoption of a child
- The illness of a child, spouse or parent
- Families in the military
When employees return to work, they are entitled to the same or equivalent position, with no loss of benefits.
You have options
Saady & Saxe’s employment law attorneys help employers comply with the numerous requirements, by drafting and reviewing policies and employment contracts and by keeping them current on state and federal laws. We understand how important compliance is to your bottom line and your reputation.
For employees who suspect their employers are in violation, obtaining qualified legal counsel is the best option for resolution. Florida does not have a wage enforcement agency, such as a department of labor, to which you can complain.
If you have not received the lawful minimum wage within 15 days of notifying your employer, you may bring a civil action in court to recover back-wages, plus damages and attorney fees.
An employer found liable for intentionally violating minimum wage requirements faces a $1,000 state fine per violation. Additionally, the state may bring a civil action to enforce the minimum wage, and willful violators may be prosecuted criminally and fined up to $10,000.
When federal law is at issue, the Department of Labor may bring suit on your behalf for back pay and an equal amount in liquidated damages, and it may obtain injunctions to restrain violations of the FLSA. However, the labor department is notably understaffed and overburdened, so significant delays can result.
Enforcement under the Family Medical Leave Act
Employees can bring a private civil action against an employer under the FMLA within two years of a violation, in addition to any action taken by the Department of Labor.
Workers may recover:
- Lost compensation and benefits
- Monetary losses
- Liquidated damages
- Reinstatement or promotion
- Attorney fees
- Other appropriate relief
Expedient, effective help for Tampa workers with wage issues
Timing is of the essence for employees and employers. Seeking legal counsel immediately puts you on the best course to prevail in any wage and hour dispute. Contact Tampa wage and hour attorneys, Saady & Saxe, P.A. for knowledgeable legal assistance you can trust.