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Overtime pay qualifications in Florida

A lot of workers don't know their rights to overtime pay -- which some employers use to their advantage.

Florida observes the overtime rules set down in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to compensate employees. This is the minimum standard acceptable across the nation. If your employer does business of $500,000 or more per year, you're entitled to time and a half of your regular hourly pay anytime you work over 40 hours per week. In addition, salaried employees are not necessarily exempt from overtime pay -- it depends entirely on the work that an employee does and/or your income.

Generally speaking, a salaried employee who earns less than $23,600 per year is entitled to overtime. However, many salaried employees who earn more than that amount in a year are also due overtime.

With few exceptions, the only workers that an employer can exempt from overtime pay are those whose salaries are above the $23,600 threshold and whose job duties are comprised of mainly professional, administrative or executive duties. Computer professionals are exempt if they earn at least $27.63 per hour. Outside sales employees, teachers, doctors and lawyers don't have an earnings test. Employees like bartenders and restaurant servers, however, are not considered exempt employees for the purposes of overtime.

It's important to understand that your actual job duties -- not your job title -- control whether or not your employer has a right to exclude you from overtime pay. Some employers try to cloak their obligation to pay overtime by dubbing an employee a "shift manager" or something similar -- while keeping his or her duties largely the same as any other employee working the shift. Even if you're given a minor managerial role, if the bulk of your duties are not administrative, you're likely entitled to overtime.

If you're thinking about pursuing the issue in court, keep in mind that Florida generally only allows you three years to initiate a claim for unpaid overtime. If you wait longer than that to act, your opportunity could be lost forever.

Source: www.dol.gov, "Overtime - General," accessed April 20, 2018

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