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Florida Minimum Wage Increases in 2019

With the New Year comes new legislation and rules that will go into effect starting January 1, 2019. Do you know what changes will impact you? One of the most anticipated in Florida is the increase in minimum wage. Residents throughout the state who earn minimum wage can expect their paychecks to be a little bigger this year, thanks to an existing Florida law that governs payment and consumer price indexing throughout the state.

Minimum Wage Changes in Recent Years

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, or DEO, announced on October 15, 2018, that it would raise the state minimum wage from $8.25 to $8.46 per hour, an increase of $0.21. The move comes as the result of DEO’s legal obligation to adjust the state minimum wage annually based on the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers in the South Region.

The federal minimum wage remains unaffected and will stay at $7.25 for the foreseeable future. Despite this, employers in Florida will be required to pay the state minimum wage of $8.46 to all non-exempt employees. The increased wage will also apply to the calculation of overtime and holiday pay, commensurate with federal law and company policy.

Laws Affecting Florida Minimum Wage

In light of the new minimum wage, state employers will have to make several adjustments to existing policies.

Notice of Minimum Wage Change

Florida law requires that all employers post the minimum wage in plain sight for employees to see. The placement of the poster must be accessible and conspicuous to employees. The state minimum wage poster law is in addition to the federal law already in place. Employers should print and post a new copy of the minimum wage poster, available in Spanish, English, and Creole.

Considerations for Tipped Employees

Florida employees who receive tips or meet other requirements for tip credit under the Fair Labor Standards Act will also experience changes under the new minimum wage. Employers may adjust wages for an allowable tip credit of $3.02, however, they must adjust their wages to equal the new Florida minimum wage minus the tip credit. As such, the new minimum wage for tipped workers will rise to $5.44 per hour, up from $5.23.

One of the consequences of Florida’s wage increase is that the government must amend the information contained in the U.S. Department of Labor’s notice to tipped employees to reflect the change.

The Department of Labor requires that employers who take a tip credit to offset the minimum wage provide certain notices to their employees.

  • The notice must reflect the amount that the employer is paying the worker.
  • The amount of money that the employer will claim as a tip credit (a maximum of $3.02) must be in the notice.
  • The tip credit cannot, under federal law, exceed the amount of tips that a worker actually receives.
  • The employee receives the cash from all tips, with the exception of a tip pool.
  • The tip credit does not apply to employees unless they receive notice of the provisions outlined above and have a copy of the regulations for their own records that outlines their acceptance and compliance with them.

What It Means for Florida Workers

Overall, many workers throughout Florida can expect to benefit from the wage increase built into the state law. Employers must increase wages to $8.46 and provide notice to their employees of the minimum wage allowed by Florida law. Tipped employees can also expect to receive an increase in wages commensurate with their employer’s chosen tip credit, when applicable. The wage increase is a valuable step in helping Florida residents adjust to an increased cost of living and will translate to slightly bigger paychecks in 2019. The state must periodically review the state minimum wage to ensure that it reflects consumer cost of living, so residents can also expect other increases in the future.

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