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Florida’s Minimum Wage Unchanged for 2011

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 11/17/2010
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The Agency for Workforce Innovation recently announced that Florida’s minimum wage will remain unchanged at $7.25 per hour throughout the year 2011. The current federal minimum wage is also $7.25 per hour. Since federal law requires that employers pay the higher of the federal or state minimum wage, Florida employers will not have to adjust their wages for 2011.

The Agency’s obligations regarding the minimum wage come from a voter-approved 2004 constitutional amendment creating Florida’s minimum wage. Pursuant to Florida law, the Agency for Workforce Innovation is required to calculate an adjusted minimum wage rate each year and to publish the adjusted rate by October 15th. The annual calculation is based on the percentage change in the federal Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners and clerical workers in the South Region for the preceding 12-month period.

Employers must pay their employees the hourly state minimum wage for all hours worked in Florida. The definitions of "employer”, "employee", and "wage" for state purposes are the same as those established under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers of "tipped employees" who meet eligibility requirements for the tip credit under the FLSA may count tips actually received as wages under the FLSA. However, the employer must pay "tipped employees" a direct wage, which is calculated by subtracting the FLSA’s 2003 tip credit ($3.02) from the minimum wage ($7.25), for a direct hourly wage of $4.23.

Employees who are not paid the minimum wage may bring a civil action against the employer or any person violating Florida's minimum wage law. Florida’s attorney general may also bring an enforcement action to enforce the minimum wage.

Employers who must pay their employees the Florida minimum wage must post a minimum wage notice in a conspicuous and accessible place in each establishment where these employees work. Florida’s poster is in addition to the federal poster, so two separate minimum wage notices must be posted.

Since the consequences for failing to pay the correct minimum hourly wage can be severe, employers must be diligent in ensuring that their minimum wage employees are compensated properly.

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