Florida Employment Laws on Sick Days, Vacation, and Paid Time Off By Kelly Chanfrau, Esq. on January 31, 2024

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Many of us have perks at our job that make them more worthwhile. Often, the most attractive among these are guaranteed sick days, vacation time, and paid/personal time off (PTO). When you are deprived of these all-important days away from work, it can feel incredibly frustrating. It can also be illegal.

I am here to help Florida workers understand their PTO rights in workplace and employment law cases. If you bring your case to me and I determine that state and federal laws do protect your sick days and vacation time, I can use your employment contract as leverage to get you the days off you deserve and seek compensation for what you’ve endured.

Florida Law Doesn’t Guarantee PTO But Many Employment Contracts Do

There are no state laws in Florida that apply to mandatory sick days, vacation time, or paid time off. Yet even if there is no state law mandating these practices, many employers offer these benefits to their employees.

With this in mind, if an employer grants employees sick days, vacation, and/or PTO, the employer will have a legal obligation to provide these benefits.

The Same Applies to Federal Law

When there are no state laws on employment practices, employers must observe any federal statutes on the matter.

Interestingly enough, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not mandate sick time, vacations, or PTO. These benefits are left to the employer to figure out.

Again, if an employer grants employees these benefits, they will have a legal obligation to provide them.

Get Your Contract Evaluated by a Qualified Employment Lawyer

As I've noted, even though there are no mandatory paid leave laws, employers who grant these benefits must still provide them to all of their employees. Failure to do so is considered a breach of your employment contract.

If you have been denied sick days, vacation, or any sort of paid leave, I can review every detail of your employment contract to see how I can protect you. As a board-certified workplace law attorney and President of the National Employment Labor Lawyers Association (NELA) in Florida, I have the in-depth knowledge necessary to identify any aspect of a contract we can add to our argument.

 

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Individuals May Be Granted Time Off Under Certain Circumstances

While employers in Florida are given significant discretion in choosing how much PTO to award, there are certain people who are expressly given days off by state laws. Note that these days off may not be paid.

Days Off for Victims of Violence

Under Florida statute section 741.313, victims of domestic violence or sexual violence must be allowed to take up to 3 days off from work in any year-long period so that a victim can:

  • Seek an injunction against the individual who is perpetuating the violence
  • Obtain medical care and/or mental health counseling related to their suffering
  • Receive help from a domestic violence shelter or other victim services organization
  • Search for new housing to escape their attacker
  • Get legal assistance for issues related to their case

Leaves of Absence for National Guardsmen

Florida statute section 250.48 grants any National Guard member who is called into active duty protection from being penalized in any way for taking time off work. Once they do return to work, they are protected from being fired without cause for a full year.

Days Off for Jurors

If you are called to serve on a jury, Florida statute section 40.271 mandates that your employer allow you to perform your civic duty without any fear of reprisal. Your employer cannot threaten or pressure you into not fulfilling your jury duty in any way.

If you work for a private company, your boss does not have to pay you for the days you don’t work while on jury duty. On the other hand, an exempt employee (essentially meaning a salaried worker) will generally be paid for days spent on jury duty as long as the exempt employee does not spend a full week without doing any work.

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Stand Up For Your Rights as a Worker

If you have been granted sick days, vacation time, and PTO in your employment contract yet have been denied those benefits, you can find success by doing the following:

  • Point Out the Language in Your Contract: Point out the stipulations in your employment contract to your supervisor or to the HR department. This can ensure your benefits are granted to you.
  • Speak With an Employment Law Attorney: If your employer continues to refuse you your employment benefits, it’s important to speak with our law firm about your legal options.


How I Can Help With Your PTO Dispute

Employment law matters can be difficult to handle on your own. Specific language in contracts can be parsed into abstraction, and chances are your employer will do anything they can to deny your benefits even if you have a legitimate legal claim to them.

When I take on a case of this type, I can:

  • Fight for the paid leave you are entitled to
  • Seek damages to cover the amount of leave you deserve
  • Obtain compensation to cover associated expenses related to your lost PTO

Identifying Highly Specific PTO Violations

Depending on the industry you work in, there may be highly specific laws governing your sick leave and PTO. For example:

  • Full-time employees in the public school system here are guaranteed by Florida law to receive 4 days of sick leave after a month of employment and an additional day per month afterwards.
  • Any unused sick leave credit must receive the equivalent of full-time compensation for these unused days.

If your school has not granted you the proper amount of sick days and/or has not compensated you for the days you didn’t use, I can work to make sure you receive the days off and money you deserve. This is just one example from many different industries in which I can help. 

Need Help With a PTO Disagreement?

Speak With a Board-Certified Employment Law Attorney

The Chanfrau & Chanfrau team is here to aid mistreated employees. For more information about your legal rights and options following a violation of your value and importance as a worker, contact our team of employment law and workplace rights attorneys.

 


 

Kelly Chanfrau

About Kelly Chanfrau, Esq.
Kelly Chanfrau started her legal career in 2001 at a national defense firm. She switched to representing plaintiffs in 2010 and became a board-certified expert in labor and employment law. Ms. Chanfrau is affiliated with the Florida Bar, the National Employment Lawyers Association, and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.

Read Ms. Chanfrau's Full Bio | All Posts by Ms. Chanfrau

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