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What’s the Difference Between Federal and State Wage and Hour Laws?

Employers and employees alike may not be aware of the difference between federal and state wage and hour requirements. In this brief article, a Tampa wage and hour attorney will discuss what exactly an employer is required to pay their employees in the State of Florida.  

Understanding Wage and Hour on the Federal Level

Federal laws related to wage and hour and overtime are established in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The federal minimum wage requirement is currently $7.25 per hour. Unless you are an exempt employee, employers are required to pay their workforce an overtime wage rate for each hour worked by their employees over 40 in a workweek. The overtime wage rate is one-and-one-half times a worker’s regular pay rate. So if an employee earned $10 per hour, they would earn $15 for each overtime hour they worked in a week. 

Understanding State Overtime Laws

The wage and hour requirements for each state vary greatly. For example, the minimum wage requirement can be as low as $5.15 in Georgia or as high as $11.50 in Washington. When discussing what employees are owed in each specific state for minimum wage, the deciding factor is the prevailing wage amount between the federal minimum and the state. In other words, with few exceptions, employers cannot pay their employees less than the $7.25 per hour as established by federal law. In cases where the state minimum wage is more than the federal level, like in Florida where the minimum was recently increased to $8.46 per hour, employers must pay the higher total. 

How the Wrong Amount Can Be Paid

Many wage disputes occur because an employer elects to pay their employees less than the prevailing wage. If the business is in a state without overtime laws, the employer may feel that they don’t owe the employee overtime pay. Employers must comply with both federal and state laws and employees have a right to seek owed compensation in cases where they were not provided the prevailing minimum wage total or overtime pay.       

If you would like to speak with one of our Tampa wage and hour attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.