Some of us in Florida are paid by commissions, rather than earning an hourly wage or an annual salary. Commissions are common in the sales and service industries and a person can make a good living earning commissions if they are good at their job.
Still, sometimes employers make mistakes, either accidentally or intentionally, and commissioned workers are not paid what they are owed. This can cause financial difficulties for the employee not to mention the stress and ongoing job dissatisfaction that comes with not being paid what they earned.
How unpaid commissions are treated depends in part on the job. For example, workers in the retail or service industry who earn commissions are exempt from the federal minimum wage. However, they might not be exempt from the federal overtime wage.
In order for commissioned retail or service employees to receive overtime pay, their commissions combined with their regular wages must not equal more than one-and-one-half times the minimum wage. In addition, their commissions must not comprise more than 50% of their total wages.
If a commissioned worker qualifies for overtime pay for working more than 40 hours in a workweek, their employer must pay them time and a half. Workers who are denied overtime earned can file a wage and hour claim, and their employer can be subject to penalties.
Note, also, that Florida labor laws differ from federal labor laws. Under Florida law, commissioned salespersons or service workers are entitled to Florida’s minimum wage, even though they are not entitled to overtime pay under state law.
However, outside salespersons are exempt from both the federal minimum wage and overtime laws. This is the case whether their commissions comprise part or all of their wages earned.
Outside salespersons and other commissioned non-exempt employees still have rights under Florida law, though. Under Florida law, these workers are owed at least the state minimum wage and overtime wages for working over 40 hours in a standard workweek.
Commissioned employees deserve to be paid
Commissioned employees deserve to be paid what they earned. While they may not be able to file a claim under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, they can pursue a Florida wage and hour claim or even file a lawsuit. All employees should be paid what they are owed, whether they are paid by commissions, by hourly wages or are salaried.