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No Increased Minimum Wage for Conchs

Wed April 15, 2015 Publications

Last year, the City of Seattle passed legislation raising minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next three to seven years depending on an employer’s size and health care benefits. In January of 2015, the City of Tacoma passed legislation requiring local employers to provide three days of sick leave per year. Now, Key West Mayor Craig Crates would like to see raise the local minimum wage, too, but that is simply not possible under Florida law.

Section 218.077, Florida Statutes, “Minimum wage requirements by political subdivisions; restrictions” provides: “a political subdivision may not establish, mandate, or otherwise require an employer to pay a minimum wage, other than a state or federal minimum wage, to apply a state or federal minimum wage to wages exempt from a state or federal minimum wage, or to provide employment benefits not otherwise required by state or federal law,” with the exception of the employees of the political subdivision, its subcontractors, or local employers who receive a direct tax abatement or subsidy.

Florida is not the only state to pass a blanket ban against local ordinances raising minimum wages and benefits. Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin all have laws which restrict municipalities from raising the minimum wages or benefits set by state and federal laws.

Meanwhile, Mayor Crates of the Southernmost City in the Continental United States insists the cost of living on the island demands an increase in local wages. Maybe so, but at least for now, according to a Key West City Commissioner who opposes any increase, “the market dictates the policy.”