Minimum Wage Update
With the federal minimum wage rate stagnating at $7.25 since 2009, more states and local governments are passing laws to raise the minimum wage in their respective jurisdictions. The District of Columbia and 29 states provide a higher minimum wage than the federal rate. For 2018, 18 states and 19 cities or counties increased their minimum wage rate which is expected to affect 4.5 million workers. The highest local minimum wages, up to $15.40, are found in California, New York, and Washington. The five highest state minimum wages are Washington ($11.50), California ($11.00), Arizona, and Vermont ($10.50), and New York ($10.40). Per federal law, employers must pay whichever rate is higher.
Effective January 1, 2018, Florida’s minimum wage rose from $8.10 to $8.25 for regular employees and from $5.08 to $5.23 for tipped employees (with a maximum tip credit of $3.02). Florida’s minimum wage rate is determined by Article X, Section 24 of the Florida Constitution, passed in 2004, that ties increases to the Consumer Price Index. When the CPI is negative, as in 2016, there is no change in the state’s minimum wage. For 2018, the increase was just shy of 2%.
In 2003, a year before the passage of Article X, Section 24 and perhaps precipitating it, The Florida Legislature enacted a preemption statute that expressly prohibits subdivisions of the state from establishing a minimum wage, Section 218.077(2) of Florida Statutes. Finding the state minimum wage too low for its residents, in 2016, the City of Miami Beach passed a local ordinance setting the local minimum wage at $10.31 to take effect on January 1, 2018, with the wage rising $1 each year to $13.31 in 2021. The City posited that the 2004 constitutional amendment invalidated the 2003 preemption statute. Last month, the Third District Court of Appeals disagreed rejecting the local minimum wage as preempted by state law. The City has asked the Supreme Court for review. Florida is among the majority of states, 27, that have preemption laws which prevent municipalities from setting their own minimum wage rates.