Florida Labor Laws for Excessive Hours

By Jeffrey Nichols

Florida's labor laws do not limit hours on the job for employees in most industries. Theoretically, employers may require employees to work 24 hours per day and 168 hours per workweek. However, employers must keep in mind provisions relating to overtime, which mandates a premium rate of pay for employees when they exceed a certain number of hours per week on the job.

General Regulations

General regulations in Florida's labor code contain one provision relating to hours. It states that for manual laborers, a legal day's work is for 10 hours, and for any time in excess of 10 hours, laborers must receive overtime pay. This clause is in addition to a federal law that requires overtime pay, equal to 1.5 times an employee's regular pay rate, for all hours in excess of 40 per workweek. That law applies to all employees, not merely manual laborers.

Hour Limits

No law in Florida or at the federal level places limits on the number of hours employers may require employees to work. As long as employers pay the premium rate when applicable, they may schedule employees for as many hours as they choose. Federal regulations limit the hours an employee may work in select occupations where fatigue creates potential safety concerns, such as for airline pilots.

Premium Pay

Florida and federal labor laws do not require a higher rate of compensation for employees who work night hours, weekends and holidays. Employees must receive a premium pay rate for working those hours only if those hours take them past the 40-hour weekly threshold. Although many employers pay premium wages for working those hours, they do so by choice for the sake of attracting and retaining employees and not as a matter of law.

Contractual Considerations

If employees are members of a labor union, the union and the employer will negotiate the terms and conditions of employment. Some of the contractual provisions may relate to hour limits and pay rates for working certain hours. Contract law requires the employer to follow the terms of the deal. Employers may unilaterally impose terms on members of a labor union only if the parties have reached a legitimate impasse while bargaining in good faith. Employers may also choose to negotiate contracts on an individual basis with employees.