Labor Law: What You Should Know
- Minimum Wage - Florida’s minimum wage applies to all employees covered by the federal minimum wage law. For 2013, Florida’s minimum wage is $7.79 an hour, slightly higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25; tipped employees who meet the eligibility requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act may be paid a direct wage of $4.77 an hour.
- New Hire Reporting - Employers are required to provide information on all newly hired and rehired full- and part-time employees within 20 days.
- Workers’ Compensation - Florida law requires employers that have four or more employees, either full-time or part-time, to have workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Sole proprietors and partners are not considered employees. Unless exempt, corporate officers are included in the definition of “employee.” (Employers in construction and agriculture are subject to different requirements.)
- Child Labor - Workers under the age of 18 cannot work in hazardous occupations such as excavation, electrical work, roofing, mining, operating heavy machinery or moving vehicles, or around explosives, toxic or radioactive substances or dangerous equipment. There are additional occupations banned for children ages 14 and 15. Minors cannot work during school hours without an exemption.
- Equal Opportunity - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal employment discrimination laws.
- Civil Rights - Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees. The Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 adds age, disability and marital status to the protected classes.
- Age Discrimination - Bars employers with 20 or more employees from discriminating against individuals age 40 and older.
- Equal Pay - Prohibits wage discrimination between men and women performing substantially equal work within the same workplace. The law applies to virtually all employers.
- Americans with Disabilities - Prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities; applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Requires that public accommodations and commercial facilities be designed to comply with accessibility standards; applies to all businesses that own, operate, lease or lease to a place of public accommodation. Includes restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctors’ offices, retail stores and other public facilities.
- Fair Labor Standards - Applies to most businesses involved in interstate commerce. Requires payment of the minimum wage and overtime pay of not less than one-and-one-half times the regular pay rate after 40 hours of work. Restricts employment of children under age 16 and forbids employers from hiring children age 18 for certain dangerous jobs. Some employees are exempt on a case-by-case basis from one or more of the major requirements; check with the U.S. Department of Labor for information on exemptions.
- Family and Medical Leave - Applies to businesses with 50 or more employees; gives certain employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year while preserving their health benefits during the period. Employees may take leave for the birth of a child; if they adopt a child or provide foster care; to care for a seriously ill spouse, child or parent; or if they personally suffer a serious health condition.
- Occupational Safety and Health - Requires businesses to provide a safe workplace and, in many cases, to maintain records of job-related injuries and illnesses. Employers with 10 or fewer employees are exempt from most requirements of the recordkeeping rule, as are industries classified as low-hazard — i.e., retail, service, finance, insurance and real estate.
See resources list for state and federal agency contacts and filing information.