While Florida’s unemployment rate was still in double digits in May 2011, it had seen a 0.3 percent increase over the prior year according to the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation. As Floridians take on new jobs, it’s normal to have questions about a company's policy in relation to the applicable labor laws. One of the most common questions is whether state or federal laws regulate the maximum length of work shifts.
Essentially, the amount of hours you must work each day in your job is an issue usually agreed upon between the employer and the employee. Depending on the industry, there may be regulatory agencies or licensing organizations that require limitations, but those would be job-specific. For example, a hospital may be required to limit nurse shifts to keep an accreditation with an organization. Florida does define a legal day's work as 10 hours and requires your employer to pay a shift differential for each hour over 10 hours per day.
If your Florida employer asks you to work several long shifts per week, it’s possible you’ll work more than 40 hours per week. In these situations, federal labor laws require your employer to pay you overtime rates. Overtime is 150 percent of your normal hourly rate form hour 41 and up. However, these laws apply only to hourly employees. Salaried employees often have employment contracts that require them to work a preset number of hours per week at a preset amount of pay.
Special Regulations for Minors
There are special regulations for employees under the age of 16. Employers can legally make them work only three hours in a school day and 18 hours in a school week. When school is out, an employer can make workers under age 17 work only eight hours per day and 40 hours per week. From June 1 to Labor Day, shifts for these young workers are allowed between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. For the rest of the year, work hours are limited to 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. There are a few exceptions, but they include children in entertainment and those delivering newspapers to consumers.
Report a Violation
If you believe that your employer’s scheduling practices violate a law or regulation, you can report them to the appropriate organization. For violation of shift rules imposed by accreditation or licensing professional organization, contact that agency directly. For federal overtime or child labor laws, you can contact the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation for further guidance.