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Florida Announces 2014 Minimum Wage

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 10/22/2013
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Effective January 1, 2014, Florida’s minimum wage will be $7.93 per hour. This is an increase of 14 cents over the 2013 minimum wage of $7.79 per hour. The minimum wage for tipped employees will increase by the same amount to $4.91 per hour

Florida’s minimum wage is the result of a 2004 voter-approved amendment to the Florida Constitution, and it applies to all Florida employees who are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act’s federal minimum wage.

Every year, Florida’s minimum wage is recalculated to consider the rate of inflation during the prior year, and according to the Florida Supreme Court, only upward adjustments are permitted.

The annual calculation, which must be completed by September 30th and posted by October 15th of each year, is based on the annual percentage change in the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers for the South Region. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is responsible for calculating and posting the new minimum wage.

Employers are required to pay the federal minimum hourly wage or their state’s minimum hourly wage, whichever is higher. Since Florida’s 2014 minimum hourly wage is higher than the federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25, employers must follow Florida law.

Though employers can be sued for failing to pay the minimum hourly wage, employees must first notify their employer, in writing, of their intent to sue. This notice must:

  • identify the minimum hourly wage to which the employee claims entitlement;
  • provide the actual or estimated work dates and hours for which payment is sought; and
  • state the total amount of alleged unpaid wages.

After receiving such a notice, employers have 15 calendar days to pay the total amount of unpaid wages or otherwise resolve the claim to the employee’s satisfaction.

Employers often have a difficult time dealing with the nuances of wage and hour laws. It’s not always easy to determine whether a manager is exempt, whether an employee needs to be paid for travel time, or whether it is proper to make a salary deduction. Making the wrong decision can prove costly to the employer. In some cases, the individual making the decision may also be held personally liable.

To limit the risk, employers should implement a training program and explore their options for insuring against wage and hour claims.

If you would like more information about ways to protect against wage and hour violations, please contact us.

The Human Equation prepares all risk management and insurance content with the professional guidance of Setnor Byer Insurance and Risk.

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