Businesses and Employment Law: Many times business owners get caught up in the “business” of what they are doing or producing and forget that that there are codes, employee requirements, regulations and statutes that must be followed. If the business owner has employees then the business owner is an “employer” too with another whole set of rules that apply from hiring to termination. Often times the business owner becomes successful and is too busy with the business to take the time to understand the local, state and federal statutes that must be complied with to avoid penalties. There are laws regulating hiring documentation, minimum wage, overtime, sick leave policy, workers compensation, and how employees are treated to list just a few.

Attorney Diaz has extensive experience in working with businesses to help them navigate the employer employee relationship. She has drafted many policies and handbooks for employers based on the unique business needs of each particular client.

Common Business Employment Law Questions

1. What is the minimum wage an employer must pay an employee?

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. However some states have a higher minimum wage rate. When the state minimum wage rate is higher than the federal rate, workers are paid the higher amount.

Effective January 1, 2015 the minimum wage in Florida increased to $8.05 an hour. The minimum wage for tipped employees in Florida will increase to $5.03 beginning January 1, 2015.

Please note that some employees are exempt from minimum wage requirements and others can be paid at a lower rate than minimum wage. An employer should have a consultation with an attorney experienced in employment law to ensure that the correct policies are followed.

2. Does an employer have to allow employees to take a break?

Florida does not require employers to provide lunch or rest breaks. However, if an employer requires an employee to do any work during a break the employee must be paid. For example, if an employee is required to answer the phones while eating lunch that time must be paid under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

3. Does an employer have an obligation to pay an employee Holiday pay?

There is no requirement that private sector employers provide holidays off or holiday pay for working on a holiday. However an employer may pay an employee extra for time worked on a holiday or decide to give an employee the day off from work.

4. Does an employer have an obligation to pay severance when an employee is terminated?

Under Florida law, in the absence of a requirement in an employment or collective bargaining agreement, the employer is not required to offer or provide severance or separation pay upon an employee’s termination of employment. However, employers will often offer or pay severance or separation pay for a number of reasons. For example, where the employee is being terminated as part of a reduction in force (RIF) or layoff, the employer will often provide separation pay since the employee is losing his or her job through no fault of his or her own.

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