Anyone who makes a habit of reading the national news headlines knows that one of the more popular topics to emerge over the last few years has been the adequacy of the minimum wage. In fact, in the last two years alone, 14 states have seen their minimum wage increased either by legislation or ballot measures.
Things have remained relatively quiet here in Florida, however, with preliminary discussions among lawmakers failing to gain any real traction in Tallahassee. Indeed, the last time there was any real movement on this front was back in November 2004, when a constitutional amendment authorizing an annual recalculation of the minimum wage based on the federal Consumer Price Index was authorized by voters.
As of January 1, 2016, all employers in the Sunshine State are required to pay a minimum wage of $8.05 per hour to non-tipped employees and $5.03 per hour to tipped employees.
If these numbers look familiar, it's because they are exactly the same as 2015, meaning the aforementioned annual minimum wage recalculation that took place back on September 30 found any increase in the Consumer Price Index to be negligible.
In light of the fact that 2016's "new" minimum wage is now in effect, it may be a good time to remind both non-tipped and tipped employees that they have the right to pursue legal action against employers who fail to pay them what they are rightfully owed.
State law dictates that once an employer is notified by their employee that they have not received the lawful minimum wage, they have 15 days to cover any unpaid wages. Failure to do so within this timeframe means the employee can move ahead with a civil action seeking not just the unpaid wages, but also attorney fees and damages.
If your employer has failed to pay you the wages to which you are entitled or if you have other employment law concerns, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.