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23
Oct
Labor law: Main federal & Florida Regulations

FEDERAL REGULATION

The three main federal regulations are about wages and hours and workplace and safety. If you need more details you should consult a labor law attorney.

A- Wages and Hours: Fair Labor Standard Act (FSLA).

The FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. Covered nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Overtime pay at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay is required after 40 hours of work in a workweek.

  • FLSA Minimum Wage: The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. In cases where an employee is subject to both state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher minimum wage.
  • FLSA Overtime: Covered nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per workweek) at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay. There is no limit on the number of hours employees 16 years or older may work in any workweek. The FLSA does not require overtime pay for work on weekends, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is worked on such days.
  • Hours Worked : Hours worked ordinarily include all the time during which an employee is required to be on the employer’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace.
  • Recordkeeping : Employers must display an official poster outlining the requirements of the FLSA. Employers must also keep employee time and pay records.

B- Workplace and Safety

The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act is administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Safety and health conditions in most private industries are regulated by OSHA or OSHA-approved state programs, which also cover public sector employers. Employers covered by the OSH Act must comply with the regulations and the safety and health standards promulgated by OSHA. Employers also have a general duty under the OSH Act to provide their employees with work and a workplace free from recognized, serious hazards.

C- Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal act that requires that covered employers provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees for the following reasons: birth and care of the employee’s newborn child; care for a child after adoption or foster care placement; care for the employee’s spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition; or for a serious health condition that affects the employee’s ability to work..

Federal laws also protect employees from sexual harassment and discrimination, including race, age, disability and pregnancy discrimination

 FLORIDA REGULATIONS

  • At Will State 

Most employees in the United States are presumed to work at will. This means they give their resignation at any time, and can be fired at any time, for any reason that isn’t illegal. (Illegal reasons for firing include discrimination and retaliation.). In every other state (other than Montana), however, at-will employment is presumed unless a contract creates a different relationship.

  • Written

A written contract is a document that sets form the terms of employment. As explained above, some written contracts are for at-will employment. Others limit the employer’s right to fire.

  • Oral

An oral contract is simply an agreement that is spoken rather than written down. Oral contracts are just as enforceable as written contracts, but much harder to prove. If there’s a dispute, it will be your word against the employer’s. Like a written contract, an oral contract might be for at-will employment or it might limit the employer’s right to fire

  • Implied

An implied contract is one that has not been reduced to a formal document or even stated explicitly, but is instead implied from a combination of the employer’s oral and written statements and actions. There are some of the factors courts consider in deciding whether an implied employment contract was created (The employee’s tenure, whether the employer’s policies limit its right to fire at will…)

  1. Florida is a Right-to-Work state, meaning that a person cannot be denied a job based on union membership. A person can choose to be a part of a union or not be part of a union—either way, his or her job status cannot be determined by union status.
  2. Florida’s laws also apply to employment subject to the FLSA. In cases where both the FLSA and state law apply, the law setting the higher standards must be observed. Note that the 2015 minimum wage in Florida is $8.05 per hour, effective January 1, 2015, with a minimum wage of at least $5.03 per hour for tipped employees, in addition to tips. Florida has no overtime laws, although you may be eligible for overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Florida does not require employers to provide lunch or rest breaks. However, you are entitled to be paid if you have to do any work during a break. Note that an employer who is subject to more than one law must follow the law that is most generous to the employee. For example, the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, but employers in states that have set a higher minimum wage must pay the higher amount. This is the case in Florida where the minimum wage is $8.05 per hour. There are several significant exceptions to the FLSA. Employees or workers who are not encompassed within the definition of a “covered employee” under the FLSA do not enjoy the minimum wage and overtime protections it affords. For example, an independent contractor is not an “employees” protected by the FLSA.
  3. Like employers throughout the country, Florida employers must comply with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave, with the right to reinstatement, for certain reasons. Florida employees are eligible for FMLA coverage if they have worked for a covered employer for at least one year, for 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months (not necessarily consecutive months) and if a minimum of 50 employees are employed by the same employer within 75 miles.
  4. Regarding payroll services, 401K and retirement services, Paychex (paychex.com) are a very liable company that most of my clients and myself.
  5. Regarding insurance: WellAway is an international health care insurance company for US and expats, providing clients with flexible health care insurance plans.

In terms of perks and benefits, there are some key differences between an LLC and a corporation. First, certain retirement plans, stock option and employee stock purchase plans are only available for C corporations. In addition, LLC members (as well as S corporation shareholders who own more than 2 percent of the business) need to pay taxes on certain employee benefits like health benefits, employer contributions to HSAs or FSAs, and life insurance benefits. Shareholders of a C corporation do not have to pay taxes on these benefits.  I am not specialized in this area and you should contact a labor law attorney to understand the full details.

 

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