In Florida, businesses thrive year-round, contributing to the state’s economic growth. Whether you’re a seasoned employer or a new business owner, understanding what is required of a Florida employer is essential. At Paper Trails, we’re dedicated to ensuring that business owners in Florida are not only aware of their obligations but also equipped with the knowledge they need to create a fair and compliant workplace environment.
In this article, we will explore the key aspects of Florida employment law, including the rights of employees, required benefits, health insurance coverage, wage laws, child labor regulations, and various HR rules. Additionally, we’ll explore important topics such as Florida’s minimum wage, equal pay, whistleblower protections, and how gun laws apply in the workplace. By the time you finish reading, you should feel confident in knowing how to navigate the requirements of a Florida employer.
Topics covered in this guide:
What is required of a Florida employer?
When operating a business, there are both federal and state laws that employers must be sure to comply with.
State requirements of Florida employers
Let’s start by diving into some Florida specific requirements. We will discuss federal requirements later on.
Wage laws in Florida
Understanding wage laws is crucial for employers in Florida. Key points to consider include:
Florida Minimum Wage: As of September 30, 2023, Florida’s minimum wage is $12 per hour. This rate will be adjusted annually to keep pace with the cost of living.
|Sept 30th, 2023||$12/hour|
|Sept 30th, 2024||$13/hour|
|Sept 30th, 2025||$14/hour|
|Sept 30th, 2026||$15/hour|
Tipped Minimum Wage: In Florida, tipped employees must make at least $8.98 per hour and this increases as follows:
|Year||Tipped Minimum Wage|
|Sept 30th, 2023||$8.98/hour|
|Sept 30th, 2024||$9.98/hour|
|Sept 30th, 2025||$10.98/hour|
|Sept 30th, 2026||$11.98/hour|
Equal Pay: Florida law prohibits wage discrimination based on gender. Employers with two or more employees must ensure that employees performing substantially similar work receive equal pay, regardless of their gender. There are exceptions for seniority, merit, earnings measured by quantity or quality of work, and other factors.
Child labor laws in Florida
Child labor laws are designed to protect young workers. In Florida, strong restrictions are in place to protect the health, safety, and educational opportunities of minors in the workplace. These laws cover working hours, prohibited occupations, and permits. Some of these include:
Minors aged 16 and 17 may not work during school hours and may only work up to 30 hours per week between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. when school follows the next day. Minors can’t work more than six consecutive days.
Minors aged 14 and 15 can work up to 15 hours per week (and no more than three hours on school days) between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. when school follows the next day.
Other employee rights in Florida
Florida has specific laws in place to protect the rights of employees. These rights encompass a wide range of areas, including:
Anti-discrimination Laws: Employees in Florida are protected against discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, religion, disability, and age.
Harassment Prevention: Employers are obligated to create a workplace free from harassment and provide avenues for employees to report such behavior.
Additional HR rules
Florida employers should also be aware of various HR rules, including:
Right to Work: Florida is a right-to-work state, meaning that employees cannot be compelled to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.
Whistleblower Protections: Florida law protects employees who report illegal activities in the workplace from retaliation.
Gun Laws for the Workplace: Florida has specific laws regarding firearms in the workplace. Employers have the right to prohibit firearms on their premises, but they must follow legal requirements to do so.
Immigration Verification: Starting July 1, 2023, all private employers in Florida with at least 25 employees must use the federal E-Verify system to confirm that their employees are eligible to work in the U.S.
Protection from Defamation: Employers in Florida are protected from defamation for making comments about current or former employees that were made in good faith.
Drug Testing: Florida prohibits employers from forcing a job applicant to take a drug test. However, employers can make a drug test a condition of employment when offering the job.
Benefits rules for Florida employers
Florida employers are required to provide certain benefits to their employees, including:
Workers’ Compensation: Employers with four or more employees must have workers’ compensation insurance to cover employees’ work-related injuries or illnesses.
Unemployment Compensation: Employers must contribute to the state’s unemployment compensation program, which provides financial support to eligible employees who lose their jobs through no fault of their own.
Leave Requirements: Certain leave is required of employers of different sizes.
- Jury duty leave (for organizations with five or more employees)
- Employees must provide evidence of their jury summons to their employer.
- Civil Air Patrol leave (for organizations with 15 or more employees)
- Domestic violence leave (for organizations with more than 50 employees)
- Employers must provide up to three days of leave per year
- Witness leave
- Military leave
Health Insurance Coverage in Florida: While Florida law doesn’t mandate employers to provide health insurance, many employers offer this benefit to attract and retain talent. Federally, employers with 50+ employees ARE required to offer affordable health insurance to employees.
Benefits NOT Required: Let’s look at a few benefits that other states require employers to offer, but Florida does NOT have a requirement for.
Federal requirements of Florida employers
Now that we know the specific Florida requirements, let’s take a look at what is required at the federal level for all employers. These apply to all businesses, regardless of the state in which they operate.
The first things employers must be aware of is their payroll tax responsibilities. There are two things employers must do in terms of taxes.
- deduct a portion of employees pay to pay the tax liability on their behalf. This includes:
- federal and state income tax based on your employees W4 form.
- the employee portion of social security and Medicare taxes.
- pay the company share of payroll taxes on each employee. This includes:
Employee classifications and overtime
Next, employers must know how to classify their employees correctly. Employees must either be classified as a W-2 employee or a 1099 independent contractor. For those employees that are W-2 employees, employers must decide whether the employees will be non-exempt or exempt employees. Differences between these two types of employees can be found here.
For those employees that are classified as non-exempt, federal requirements state that employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate of 1.5 times their regular rates of pay. Furthermore, employees who work multiple positions with multiple pay rates must be paid using the blended overtime method.
Federal labor laws
There are certain federal labor laws that must be followed depending on the size of an organization. Labor law posters must be displayed in the workplace in an area visible to employees. You can find which laws apply correspond to which employer by size below:
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)
- Equal Pay Act
- Civil Right Act & Title VI
- Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
- Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Right Act (USERRA)
- National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)
In conclusion, running a business in Florida comes with certain responsibilities and obligations. Ensuring that you are well-informed about these rules is essential and will help you navigate the complex landscape of employment law in Florida.
At Paper Trails, we are committed to helping business owners like you stay compliant with the law. By understanding and adhering to the requirements for Florida employers, you can create a thriving and legally sound workplace that benefits both your business and your workforce. Contact us here if you are looking for payroll and HR help in Florida