Laws affecting whether employers in Florida can force manual laborers, exempt workers and disabled employees to work overtime.
Florida's overtime law is restricted to manual laborers. Most private sector employers in Florida must follow federal overtime laws, which do not restrict work hours and allow mandatory overtime. An employee can be terminated for not working the required hours, unless the employer violates an employment contract or a statute such as a discrimination or retaliation law.
Florida Law for Manual Workers
A legal day's work for manual laborers in Florida is 10 hours. Under Florida law, manual workers do not have to be paid overtime unless they work more than 10 hours in a day. Daily hours over 10 must be paid at 1 1/2 times the regular pay rate. Florida law does not require double-time pay for hours worked on nights, weekends or holidays.
Florida law does not prohibit employers from forcing employees to work overtime. Unless a written agreement between the employer and employee states otherwise, an employer can require that manual laborers work more than 10 hours per day, as long as the employee is compensated for the extra hours.
Manual laborers are blue-collar employees who perform tasks that require them to use their hands, energy and physical abilities repetitiously. They include nonmanagement employees who are not exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage and overtime pay requirements.
Federal Overtime Policies
Most employees in the United States are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to the website of attorney N. James Turner. The FLSA does not limit the number of hours an employee can work in a day or week, but employees who work overtime must receive compensation for weekly hours over 40 at 1 1/2 times the regular pay rate. Federal law does not require double-time pay.
Employees who are exempt from the FLSA's overtime policies, such as salaried executive and professional employees, do not have to be paid overtime. The salary of exempt employees is not based on hours worked. Exempt employees can be required to work as many hours as needed to get the job done.
When both Florida and federal overtime laws apply -- as may be the case for manual laborers -- employers must use the standard that will provide the most overtime wages.
Employees With Disabilities
An employer might be required to make reasonable accommodations for an employee who has a qualifying mental or medical condition under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Reasonable accommodations may include reducing the disabled employee's hours or changing his work schedule. The accommodation may be required if it will allow the employee to carry out his essential job tasks without causing great difficulty or expense to the business. If overtime is essential to the job, however, the employer might not be under any legal obligation to pardon the employee from working overtime.
If an employee says that he cannot work overtime because of a disability, the employer must examine the full picture before making a decision. This includes determining whether:
- The disability meets the ADA's definition
- Working overtime is necessary for the job
- A case of reasonable accommodation is present
- The accommodation would cause undue hardship to the business
If the ADA does not protect the employee against working mandatory overtime, the employee might be protected under the Family Medical Leave Act. Employers may review the FMLA guidelines to determine whether the employee qualifies for job-protected leave or a reduced work schedule due to a serious medical condition.
Comp Time for Exempt Employees
Employers can provide exempt employees with compensatory time, which is paid time off in lieu of overtime. For example, an exempt employee normally works 45 hours per week but during a peak season is required to work 60 hours per week. The employer can create a policy that rewards exempt employees with comp time that equals the number of "overtime" hours worked.
Employees who are not exempt from the FLSA's overtime pay requirements must receive overtime wages, not comp time, for overtime hours.