Since the Florida minimum wage law was passed in 2004, Florida employers are responsible for keeping up with both state and Federal regulations. On January 1, 2018, the minimum wage in Florida is set to increase. Here’s what you need to know.
Florida Minimum Wage Calculation
The Florida minimum wage applies to all workers in the state of Florida who are covered under Federal minimum wage regulations. Each year, on September 30th, the wage rate is calculated by reviewing the prior 12-month Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the southern region. The year-over-year percentage change as of September 1st is the basis for minimum wage change.
The Consumer Price Index is a measure of the weighted average cost of a group of consumer goods and services. When inflation is high, the cost of living increases. The resulting increase in CPI causes the Florida minimum wage to increase by the same percentage. In times of deflation, when the CPI decreases, the minimum wage does not go down. In this case, there will simply be no change.
State vs. Federal Minimum Wage
Federal law states that employers are required to pay the higher of either the state or federal minimum wage. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. This has been unchanged since 2009.
Florida’s minimum wage is increasing from $8.10 to $8.25, reflecting an approximately 2 percent increase in CPI. Florida employers will be required to pay the Florida state minimum wage unless the Federal minimum wage increases to the point where it exceeds the state minimum.
Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees
For qualified employers of tipped employees, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides a tip credit that allows tips to be counted as wages received. However, tipped employees must still be paid a direct wage. As of January 1, 2018, this wage is increasing to $5.23 per hour.
Penalties for Failure to Comply
Employees who believe they are not being paid the required minimum wage must begin by notifying their employer. The employer then has 15 days to resolve the claim. If a resolution is not met, the employee may file a civil suit for back wages, damages, and attorney fees.
The State Attorney General can also bring about a civil suit for minimum wage enforcement. In addition, employers who intentionally violate minimum wage laws may be subject to a $1,000 fine for each offense.
Professional Compliance Support
Maintaining compliance with state and Federal laws can be a challenge for busy employers. Despite the best of efforts, it’s possible to unintentionally create a violation. Frivolous claims made by disgruntled employees can also cause major headaches. In either of these situations, proper legal representation can mean the difference between timely resolution and ongoing business disruptions.
Danz and Kronengold, PL specializes in labor and employment law. We represent employers in complex litigations and provide legal compliance and planning services. Contact us today to learn how our quality representation can benefit your business.