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Minimum wage changes can spark disputes

Employers and employees can get involved in some very serious legal battles when money is at stake. Employers want to protect themselves and their companies while employees want to be properly paid for the work they have done. When there is a disagreement about wages, legal action may be all but unavoidable.

Many of the disputes center on failure to pay workers minimum wage. State and federal minimum wage laws can be more complicated than they may appear, and staying in compliance can be difficult especially when changes are made to the law. 

As of Jan. 1 of this year, the state minimum wage in Florida has been set at $7.93, which is slightly higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. There were employers that struggled to adjust payment structures to comply with these laws when the wages were increased, and employers in one Florida city may be struggling to adjust again if a proposed increase is approved.

Reports indicate that city workers in St. Petersburg, Florida, could receive as much as $12.50 per hour according to a proposal by the mayor. The increase was proposed in response to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which calculated what a person would need to earn in order for it to be considered a "living wage."

This is just one example of how adjustments to minimum wages can affect workers all across Florida. Depending on whether an employee is a federal, state or city worker, they can be subject to different wage structures and when minimum wage laws change, it can be crucial that employers comply with the changes.

Whenever a wage dispute arises, it can be beneficial to all parties to deal with the situation before it escalates into complicated and costly litigation. Working with an attorney who understands the rights of both employees and employers in Florida can be a good way to work toward a satisfactory resolution.

Source: The St. Petersburg Tribune, "St. Pete plans $12.50 minimum wage for city workers," Christopher O'Donnell, Oct. 21, 2014

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