The Florida Minimum Wage Act applies to all employees in the state who are covered by federal minimum wage laws and requires the Department of Economic Opportunity to recalculate the minimum wage rate every year in September. These changes will have a direct and significant impact on employers across the state, so if you have questions about your own obligations to pay the minimum wage to qualifying employees, please contact our dedicated West Palm Beach employer counseling services attorneys today to learn more about your legal responsibilities under both state and federal law.
Calculating a Yearly Minimum Wage
Under Florida law, the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity is required to use a particular wage rate when recalculating the minimum wage every year. This rate is based on the percentage increase in the federal Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the one year period prior to the first of September. Currently, these calculations dictate that the minimum wage in Florida be set at $8.46 per hour. However, starting on the first of January in 2020, the minimum wage in the state is set to increase by ten cents to $8.56 per hour.
How These Rules Apply to Employers of Tipped Employees
Those who employ tipped employees and who qualify for the tip credit under federal law, can count tips actually received by the employees as wages. However, in these cases, employers are still required to pay tipped employees a direct wage. Starting next year, the new minimum wage for tipped employees will increase to $5.54 per hour, plus tips, which is calculated as being equal to the $8.56 minimum wage minus a $3.02 tip credit.
Federal vs. State Minimum Wage
In determining whether the federal or state minimum wage applies to an employee, employers are directed to pay whichever of the amounts is higher. This means that the Florida minimum wage will prevail over the federal rate unless the latter becomes higher than the rate of the former. For next year, this means that Florida employers must still pay the federal minimum wage, which is currently set at $7.25 per hour.
Accounting for these changes is extremely important for employers, as employees who do not receive the minimum wage can file a civil action against the employer in court, where they can seek back wages, as well as damages and attorney’s fees. In fact, in some cases, employers cold also face suit from the Florida Attorney General. Employers who are found to have intentionally violated minimum wage requirements could also be subject to fines of $1,000 per violation. To ensure that this does not happen to you due to a minor oversight or failure to adjust wage practices, please contact our legal team today.
Call an Experienced Employer Counseling Services Lawyer for Help With Your Case
For help assessing your own wage practices and ensuring that you are in compliance with state and federal law, please contact the dedicated employer counseling services lawyers at Pincus & Currier, LLP today. We can be reached at 561-868-1340 or via online message.