Florida Law on Wages, Bonuses, Deductions

Wages, bonuses, deductionsThe income of an individual encompasses many components. The take-home salary at the end of the month is just one aspect of the umbrella term income. Bonus, Vacation pay, sick leave, medical benefits and tax deductions also form a crucial part of an individual’s annual, monthly and daily pay package and can all be considered as wages.

Wages vary from company to company and depend upon the field of work and the terms stated by Florida Law.

Minimum Wage Law

Under Florida law, the current minimum wage rate is $7.79 per hour. This law is enforced to set the basic standards for the pay and number of hours worked. With this law, the State ensures that an individual is paid at least the minimum wage. This may be inclusive of overtime and tip included, but this covers the minimum threshold that an individual is sure to earn in an hour’s work. Tipped employees may give certain types of employers in the service industry a tip credit, which permits employers to pay less than the minimum wage.

Break-up of Wages into Individual Income Components

  • Bonuses Bonus is the extra pay packet that the individual earns at the end of the fiscal year. The bonus amount is equally dependent on the performance of the individual and the annual performance of the company. There are also performance based bonuses which give employees incentives based on accomplishing a milestone. These performance based bonuses can occur at any time throughout the year.
  • Vacation pay There are no terms declared regarding vacation leave or pay in the state law. Hence the employee is liable to comply and receive a vacation pay as stated in his employment contract. Most companies provision a vacation leave in their policy or a pay out in accrue of vacation time.
  • PTO Time Personal Time off (PTO), also known as paid leave is a requisite in most employment work policies. This is a combination of all the days that the individual is entitled to take a leave, without losing pay. The company or employer usually pools vacation days, sick leaves and personal days under a single compartment and leaves it up to the employee to utilize it as he wishes. In case of non-exhaustion of these leaves at the end of the year, the company may choose to provide an employee an option to ‘cash’ it out which means that the monetary equivalent of the surplus leave value will be added as an arrear to his income of the last month or the surplus leaves would ‘rollover’ to the next year. These options are no mandates and one or the other may apply as per company policy, since there is no mention of any specific or mandatory pto time provision under Florida law.
  • Sick leave There are no terms declared regarding sick leave under Florida state law and hence the employee is liable to comply with the sick leave policy or provision as stated in his employment handbook.
  • Overtime According to FLSA (Fair Labor Standard Act), there is no limitation on the number of hours a company or employer would require its employee to work, as long as the overtime due is paid accordingly (unless employee is exempt). The standard work hours set by the act is 40 hours per week, above which a minimum of 1.5 times the base wage has to be paid to all non exempt employees.Employers oftentimes attempt to illegally deduct an employees wage due to an allegation that the employee did something wrong. While an employer is entitled to prove his case, the employer is not permitted to unilaterally make wage deductions. This includes for making deductions due to an employee damaging property of employer, or any other type of deductions which are not mandated by the applicable tax code.Wage law is complex and esoteric. An experienced board certified attorney in labor and employment law should be consulted. The Department of Labor may also provide some assistance, however, because a violative employer is responsible for all attorney fees and costs, most experienced attorneys in employment law matters can help you with your wage dispute at no cost to you.