On January 1, 2020, Florida’s minimum wage will increase by ten cents to $8.56 per hour. The minimum wage for tipped employees, which is in addition to tips, will also increase by ten cents to $5.54 per hour. Florida’s Minimum Wage Act applies to those employees entitled to receive the federal minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Employers must pay no less than the federal minimum wage or their state’s minimum wage, whichever is higher.

Florida’s minimum hourly wage is adjusted annually for inflation. According to the Florida Supreme Court, only upward adjustments are permitted. Since 2005, Florida’s minimum wage has gone up $2.41. Florida’s 2020 minimum hourly wage remains higher than the current federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25.

Florida employers must make employees aware of their rights by prominently displaying a minimum wage poster in a conspicuous and accessible place wherever minimum wage employees are employed. Employees can sue for violations of Florida’s Minimum Wage Act, but they must first provide their employer written notice of their intent to sue, which 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.

Employers then have 15 calendar days to pay all unpaid wages or resolve the claim to the employee’s satisfaction. Otherwise, the employee may file a lawsuit. The Florida Attorney General can also bring a civil action against employers. Each willful violation can result in a $1,000 fine.

Dealing with state and federal wage and hour laws can be hard. To protect against employment practices liability claims, employers should implement a training program and explore their options for insuring against wage and hour claims.

Please contact us for more information about protecting your business from employment-related liabilities.