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Florida employers: Avoid disputes by reviewing overtime policies

On Behalf of | May 25, 2016 | Business Formation & Planning |

Employment-related disputes are some of the most common types of issues business owners deal with. The relationship between employees and employers is one that needs careful and consistent management. When an argument does arise, it can quickly head to the courts if the matter is not properly addressed.

In order to avoid this, employers must be sure they are in compliance with state and federal employment laws. For instance, business owners across Florida will want to make sure they review their wage and hour policies in light of recent changes to the federal overtime rules.

The new rule raises the minimum salary a person can earn to be eligible for overtime. Previously, a person earning a salary of over $23,660 would be not automatically eligible for overtime. However, the Department of Labor recently announced that the salary threshold would be increased to just over $47,000.

This means a few things for employers. To begin with, if you employ salaried workers who earn less than $47,476 a year, those workers will be eligible to receive time-and-a-half for every hour beyond 40 worked in a week.

It also means that you may need to reassess your employment and compensation structures. If you are trying to avoid paying overtime, you could consider increasing salaries beyond the new threshold, or reclassifying workers. You might also need to refocus your efforts at monitoring the number of hours non-exempt employees work.

Alternatively, you can decide to keep everything as it currently stands and pay overtime to the proper employees. But, you will want to make sure that you and your employees are clear on when overtime pay will be paid and any policies regarding working overtime.

According to estimates by the DOL, more than 330,000 workers in Florida alone will be affected by the change. If this includes your employees, it can be crucial that you examine with your attorney your compensation, hour and employment policies to make sure you are in compliance. Failure to do so can lead to legal disputes and costly penalties.