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Florida Safer at Home Order

On April 1, 2020, Florida Governor Ron Desantis issued Order 20-91 directing Floridians to limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities, and additionally directing senior citizens and individuals with significant underlying medical conditions to stay at home during the continued COVID-19 crisis. The order does not define specify at what age individuals are considered to be senior citizens. The Safer at Home Order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on April 3, 2020, and will expire on April 30, 2020, unless extended by a subsequent order.

Florida's Pinellas County Issues Safer at Home Order

On March 25, 2020, Pinellas County issued an order directing citizens to comply with the CDC guidelines of maintaining a distance of 6 feet from other individuals and not gathering in groups of more than 10 individuals, and to limit non-essential activities during the continued COVID-19 crisis. The Safer-At-Home Order went into effect at 11:27 a.m. on March 26, 2020, and will continue until the expiration of the existing Local State of Emergency.

An Update on St. Petersburg’s Wage Theft Notice and Posting Requirements and Recent Amendments to Pinellas County’s Wage Theft Ordinance

In 2015, the City of St. Petersburg, Florida, approved an ordinance prohibiting wage theft in the city. The Wage Theft Ordinance (WTO) “aims to eliminate the underpayment or nonpayment of wages” by giving private employees within the city’s limits an administrative process for seeking back wages, liquidated damages, and costs and attorney’s fees. Pinellas County maintains a similar, though not identical, wage theft ordinance.

New Year, New Legislative Session Greets Florida Employers

Florida’s 2020 legislative session convened today in Tallahassee. This session will be one to watch, as over 20 workplace-related bills have already been filed, covering such topics as discrimination and retaliation, minimum wage and overtime pay, pre-employment verification and background screening, reemployment assistance, tax credits and refunds, job relocation, job protections for medical marijuana users, paid family leave, and heat illness prevention.

The Year 2020 Will Begin With an Increase to Florida’s Minimum Wage

The Florida Minimum Wage Act, which applies to all employees in Florida covered by the federal minimum wage, requires the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity to calculate a new minimum wage rate each year on September 30. The wage rate is based on the percentage increase in the federal Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers in the South Region for the 12-month period prior to September 1. Florida’s minimum wage is currently $8.46 per hour. According to state government officials, beginning January 1, 2020, Florida’s minimum wage is scheduled to rise to $8.56 per hour, which is a $0.10, or 1.12 percent increase, due to the change in the CPI.

Florida's Minimum Wage Rate Increases January 1, 2020

Effective January 1, 2020, Florida's minimum wage rate will increase from $8.46 per hour to $8.56 per hour. The increase is calculated by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and is based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for the South Region.

Parental Leave Continuance Policy Rejected

Case management is such an important task for litigators. We must plan how best to utilize the allotted and often limited time provided for each case.

Florida Adds Vaping to Regulated Indoor Smoking

The Florida legislature recently amended the “Indoor Air: Tobacco Smoke” Act, §386.202 of the Florida Statutes, to restrict indoor vaping in addition to tobacco smoking in enclosed spaces. The amended act is now known as the “Indoor Air: Smoking and Vaping” Act. The new law went into effect on July 1, 2019.

Florida’s 2019 Legislative Session Yields Bills Related to Vaping in the Workplace and Unemployment Benefits for Domestic Violence Victims

The Florida Legislature concluded its annual legislative session on Saturday, May 4, 2019. Over 20 employment-related bills were introduced, covering subjects such as E-Verify, criminal background screening, discrimination and harassment, sexual misconduct reporting in health care, local regulation of employment conditions, minimum wage, vaping, paid leave, internship tax credits, restraints of trade or commerce (noncompete agreements), drug-free workplaces, and unemployment compensation claims. Although only two of these bills survived, many of the bills that did not pass could resurface and impact employers in the near future. The next legislative session convenes in Tallahassee, Florida on January 14, 2020.

Non-Compete News: Florida Senator Rubio Proposes Legislation to Loosen Grip on Non-Compete Agreements

In January 2019, Florida Senator Marco Rubio introduced the “Freedom to Compete Act” (the “Act”), which would limit an employer’s ability to enter into non-competition agreements with certain entry-level, low-wage employees. Additionally, the Act seeks to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to void existing non-compete agreements — and outlaw any new non-compete agreements — between employers and employees classified as “non-exempt” under the FLSA. Employers who violate provisions of the Act “shall be liable for such legal or equitable relief as may be appropriate to effectuate the purposes of such section.”
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