Florida has no laws requiring employers to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. Florida’s Legislature and its courts are silent regarding any obligation an employer may have regarding vacation leave, including whether an employer must pay an employee accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment. Due to the silence of Florida authorities on the matter of vacation leave, it is likely employers are free to establish the vacation leave policy of their choosing. An employer would be required to comply with the terms of a valid employment contract containing vacation leave provisions.
In Florida, employers are not required to provide employees with sick leave, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide sick leave benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.
An employer in Florida may be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.
Florida law does not require private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. In Florida, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays. A private employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws. If an employer chooses to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.
Visit our Florida State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of Florida as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.
Jury Duty Leave
An employer may not discharge, penalize, threaten, or otherwise coerce an employee because the employee receives or responds to a summons or serves as a juror. FL Statute 40.271. An employer is not required, however, to pay an employee for responding to a jury summons or for serving on a jury. FL Statute 40.24
Florida law does not require an employer to allow employees time off, paid or unpaid, to vote.
Florida law prohibits an employer from firing or threatening to fire any employee for voting or not voting in an election, for a particular candidate, or for a specific ballot measure. An employer that violates this law may be guilty of a third degree felony. FL Statute 104.081
Florida law does not require employers to provide employees bereavement leave or leave to attend funerals. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employers may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice they maintain.
Family and Medical Leave
The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act
All employers in Florida must adhere to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This allows employees to take unpaid leave for various reasons, with the right to reinstatement to their former position. In addition, other Florida laws give employees the right to take time off for domestic violence.
Employee Rights Under the Family and Medical Leave Act
Eligible employees in Florida may take three months’ leave for bonding with a new child, serious health conditions, a family member’s military service, or other reasons.
Employers must adhere to the FMLA if they have at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks in the previous or current year.
For an employee to be eligible for FMLA leave, they must have worked at the same company for a minimum of 12 months; must have worked for a minimum of 1,250 hours within the last 12 months; and must work at a business that has a minimum of 50 employees in a 75-mile area.
Employees may take FMLA leave if they:
- Need to bond with and care for a new child
- Handle qualifying circumstances that arise out of a family member’s active military service,
- Take care of a member of the family with a serious health problem
- Recover from a serious health issue
- Take care of a family member who has suffered an injury while on active duty.
For such purposes, an employee in Florida may take up to 12 weeks off during a 12-month period. As long as employees meet the eligibility requirements, this leave will renew every 12 months. If an employee needs military caregiver leave, they may take up to 26 weeks off in those 12 months.
Employees are also entitled to be reinstated to the same or equivalent position once the FMLA leave ends. Employees are also entitled to continue their health insurance while on leave at the same cost they paid while working. Although FMLA leave is unpaid, employees might be allowed or required to use their accrued paid leave time during this FMLA leave.
Domestic Violence Leave
Under Florida state law, employees may take time off due to domestic violence, Florida Domestic Violence Leave.
Employers who have 50 or more employers must allow eligible employees who have been victims, or have family members who have been victims of sexual assault or domestic violence, to take up to three days off in a 12-month period to get medical care or counseling, seek an injunction, relocate or make a home more secure, or seek legal assistance.