New Year, New Minimum Wage
Florida’s minimum wage for 2019 has increased 21 cents to $8.46 per hour. The state’s annual calculation is based on inflation—the percentage increase in the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers in the South Region for the 12-month period prior to September 1, 2018. Meanwhile, the federal minimum wage remains stagnant since 2009 at $7.25 per hour. Ironically, while the federal wage is lower, federal law provides that where an employee is subject to both the federal and state minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher of the two wages.
Given the increased minimum wage and in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or state law, employers are required to take the following steps:
- Post the Florida minimum wage notice in a conspicuous area at work accessible to affected employees. This notice is in addition to the federal requirement to post a notice of the federal minimum wage. The state poster is available for downloading at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s website at www.floridajobs.org, and the federal poster can be downloaded from the U.S. Department of Labor’s website at: www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/posters/flsa.htm.
- Pay non-exempt employees at least $8.46 per hour for the first 40 hours of work each week and at least $12.69 per hour for overtime work.
- Pay tipped employees $5.44 per hour (with a $3.02 tip credit).
- Provide tipped employees with notice, preferably in writing, (a) of the amount of cash wages being paid by the employer; (b) of the amount claimed by the employer as a tip credit; (c) that the tip credit cannot exceed the tips received; (d) that the employee retains all tips except where a valid tip pool exists; and (e) that the tip credit will not apply to any employee unless the employees has been so informed.
While the increase is only 21 cents per hour, compliance is critical. As I have previously mentioned, wage claims are popular with and profitable for plaintiffs’ attorneys whose attorney fees in such cases often exceed the value of the claimed unpaid wages.