2019 Florida Minimum Wage Update
Effective January 1, 2020, changes to Florida’s minimum wage rate will include a mandatory increase from $8.46 to $8.56, (an increase of 1.12%) exceeding the federal rate of $7.25 per hour. The new minimum wage for tipped employees is increasing to $5.54 per hour in addition to tips, which is calculated as equal to the minimum wage of $8.56 minus the 2003 tip credit of $3.02.
The minimum wage rate is recalculated annually based on the Consumer Price Index, which accounts for the inflation rate and the cost of living formula. You can find the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s minimum wage calculations from previous years here:
Florida Minimum Wage History (2000-2019): http://www.floridajobs.org/docs/default-source/business-growth-and-partnerships/for-employers/posters-and-required-notices/2019-minimum-wage-poster/florida-minimum-wage-history-2000-2018.pdf?sfvrsn=4
2019 Florida Minimum Wage Calculations Inflation Rate Calculation: http://www.floridajobs.org/docs/default-source/business-growth-and-partnerships/for-employers/posters-and-required-notices/2019-minimum-wage-poster/2019-minimum-wage-calculation.pdf
Protect Your RightsThe Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Florida labor law require all employers in Florida to visibly display an approved Florida minimum wage poster to ensure that all employees are informed of existing and updated federal and Florida labor law and overtime regulations. Employees are entitled to be paid the higher state minimum wage if it exceeds the federal rate. The Florida minimum wage will always prevail over the federal rate unless the federal minimum wage is higher than the state rate. The only time that minimum wage does not increase, is if the CPI is negative, indicating deflation. An employer may not retaliate against an employee for exercising their right to ensure they are receiving the minimum wage.
Employee Rights Protected by the State ConstitutionEmployee rights protected by the state constitution include filing a complaint regarding an employer’s alleged noncompliance with lawful minimum wage requirements, notifying any person about an employer’s alleged noncompliance with lawful minimum wage requirements, and notifying any person of their potential rights under Section 24, Article X of the State Constitution and Section 448.10, Florida Statutes and assisting them in asserting such rights.
Civil ActionEmployers are subject to a $1,000 fine if found liable for violating minimum wage requirements. If at any point in time you have not received the lawful minimum wage, you must first notify your employer and allow 15 days to resolve any claims for unpaid wages. If claims are not resolved during this 15-day period, you may decide to proceed with a civil action against your employer to recover back wages, adjustments, damages and attorney fees.
The Department of Labor conducts investigations as a part of its enforcement of the FLSA. All complaints are confidential, including your name and the essence of your complaint. The only exception to this is if it’s required, with your permission, to reveal your identity, in order to pursue a claim. Any supplementary documentation, including copies of pay stubs, records of worked hours, or any information regarding the pay practices set by your employer will aid in this process. The services the Department of Labor provides are confidential, whether or not you are documented. Lastly, your employer cannot terminate or discriminate against you for filing a complaint with the Department of Labor.
Representation By CounselWe recommend having a consultation with a qualified labor and employment lawyer before you make a decision to file a complaint with the Department of Labor, as a lawyer may recommend an approach to attempt to settle your claim prior to filing a complaint, or help you file the complaint directly with the DOL or in State/ Federal Court. A qualified labor and employment lawyer can also explain to you in detail your statute of limitations deadline and any other important associated issues you should consider.