Avoid Miscategorizing Employees
The American workforce has made some major changes since the 1950s. It used to be that workers held the same job, or stayed in the same field of work, for decade after decade. As manufacturing moved to other countries, American workers had to become more specialized, often moving from one job to the next and continuously learning new skills in different industries. This trend is still true today, though now a new characteristic of the American workforce is emerging: contract work, also referred to as “gig jobs.” 20 percent of American workers are contract workers, according to the National Public Radio (NPR). Contract workers, who are hired on to complete a specific job or work for a fixed period of time, do not have the same benefits as employees. However, many contract workers either do not understand this, or believe that because they are doing similar tasks as the employees of a company, they deserve benefits, including being paid for overtime.
Paid Overtime Law in Florida
State law requires that Florida employers pay their employees overtime wages when they work more than 40 hours in any given workweek (seven consecutive days). Every hour over 40 in that given workweek must be compensated at time and a half of the employee’s normal pay. If an employee is making minimum wage ($8.46 in Florida according to the Department of Labor), the minimum time and a half payment for overtime hours is $12.69 per hour. Employers are not required to pay salaried employees overtime unless it is stated in the employee’s employment contract. Additionally, workers performing manual labor must be paid overtime if they surpass 10 hours a day unless otherwise stated in the employment contract, regardless of the total work week volume, according to Florida statute 448.01.
Classifying an Employee as a Contract Worker Can Get You in Trouble
One of the most common claims against employers is wage withholding and unpaid overtime. Contract workers, who are paid to complete a specific task or number of days, however, are not eligible for overtime unless it is stated in their contract, which is rare. Employers sometimes misclassify employees as contract workers in order to avoid paying overtime, higher premiums for workers’ compensation, and other benefits, which is unlawful. It is important to always properly classify employees as employees, otherwise you may have a lawsuit on your hands. In other circumstances, the employer has done nothing wrong by hiring a contract worker, who mistakenly believes that they have been misclassified and files suit in return.
Some Types of Employees are Exempt From Overtime Pay
A few categories within the workplace are exempt from overtime pay. These include:
- Nannies, housekeepers, and some other employees who live in the household of their employer;
- Certain types of agricultural workers; and
- Transportation workers.
Our Experienced West Palm Beach Employment Litigators are Here to Assist You
Whether you have questions about misclassification of employees or you are being sued by a contract worker or employee for overtime wage withholding, the experienced West Palm Beach labor & employment attorneys at Pincus & Currier, LLP, can help. Call us today at 561-868-1340 to schedule a meeting.