Man sitting at desk holding a check

Can an employer deduct hours from my paycheck?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American adult spends 8.8 hours daily working – that’s more hours spent than those on sleeping and other household activities combined. What’s more alarming: 31 percent of all single-job employees work on weekends, as well. Is your employer giving you the proper credit for all your hours worked?

Hours Worked: Legal and Illegal Deductions

Unless an employee is of a minority worker group – i.e. under the age of 18 – Florida state employers aren’t required to provide lunch or rest breaks; however, many employers often freely offer such periods to ensure employees are fresh on the job.

It’s important to note that while some businesses offer the option to “punch out” for these breaks, others may use time clock software that automatically deducts an allotted lunch break or rest period from an employee’s hours worked.

The latter situation may become complicated if you’re an employee who works through a given break without taking time off. In that event, it is your responsibility to alert your employer to any additional time worked.

If you’re a Florida worker interested in your employee rights, get familiar with the following points on hours worked and deductions:

  • You are not required to take a lunch break under Florida law.
  • If your employer automatically deducts a lunch hour or break, he or she may only do so if you were actually “off the clock” and not engaged in work duties.
  • If you inform your employer that you worked during a deducted hour or period and the employer does not apply the time, you may be entitled to unpaid wages.

Consider these circumstances that may allow for a legal or illegal employee wage deduction.

Example of Legal Hourly Deduction: You used your employer’s time clock system to “punch out,” or the time clock system automatically deducted a break, during which time you engaged in non-work activities such as eating lunch in the employee break room or at another off site location.

Example of an Illegal Hourly Deduction: You used your employer’s time clock system to “punch out,” or the time clock system automatically deducted a break, during which time you engaged in work activities such as assisting clients. You informed your employer of the additional time worked, yet the time was not credited to your hours worked.

Questions on Overtime: What is a Legal Workday?

In addition to lunch break deductions, you may wonder whether your employer can subtract overtime hours from your paycheck. According to Florida Stat. 448.01, under Title XXXI: Labor, workers who exceed 10 hours of daily work are entitled to overtime pay.

Although some employers may provide written contracts establishing standard work hours or pre-approved hours, if your employer requires you to work more than a day’s time during a given period you are generally entitled to overtime wages.

If your employer knowingly deducted additional hours worked from your paycheck, he or she may owe you unpaid overtime.

Taking Action Against Unpaid Wages

You have a right to any unpaid wages. Under Florida Stat. 448.08 your employer may be responsible for your attorney fees, as well.

Take action today. Contact Wenzel, Fenton, Cabassa, P.A. for a free consultation regarding your specific employment wages.

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