A Guide to Minimum Wage Laws in Florida
Florida State Minimum Wage Laws
Florida’s minimum pay rate is set by the state government in compliance with Art. X, §24 of the Florida Constitution and Fla. Stat. §448.110, which are known as the Florida Minimum Wage Act. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) allows each state to set its own minimum wage, but mandates that each state’s minimum wage, and thus Florida’s minimum wage, must be equal to or greater than the federal minimum wage.
If an employer in Florida chooses to pay its employees the minimum wage, they must pay the higher of the two rates set by state or federal law to avoid a lawsuit under the Florida Minimum Wage Act.
If you believe your employer has violated the law by paying you less than the required minimum wage, it is in your best interest to seek legal counsel from a qualified minimum wage attorney.
What Is Florida’s Minimum Wage?
The current Florida minimum wage is $11.00 per hour, while the federal minimum wage rate remains at $7.25 per hour.
This $11.00 per hour rate applies to most hourly and salaried workers who are not exempt from the requirement to receive at least a minimum wage for each our worked. Tipped workers may be paid a reduced minimum wage of $7.98 per hour as long as their tips make up for the difference and the employer does not violate the laws regarding the sharing and distribution of tips.
Increase in Minimum Wage Through 2026
In late 2020, Florida voters approved the 2020 Florida Amendment 2, which amended Art. X, §24(c) of the Florida Constitution to reqire that Florida’s minimum Wage increase to $10.00 per hour on September 30, 2021, and to then increase by $1.00 per hour on September 30 of each year until it reaches $15.00 per hour on September 30, 2026. .Subsequent minimum wage increases will be calculated using the consumer price index and adjusted to inflation.
Wage Rates for Different Types of Employees
Florida minimum wage law looks to the FLSA for certain things, including treatment of tipped employees and tips. According to the FLSA, a tipped employee is a worker who regularly and customarily receives more than $30 a month in tips. Managers, supervisors, owners, and others such as kitchen and cleaning staff are not considered employees who custumariliy and regularly received tips – meaning they are ineligible to receive tips from a tip pool
In Florida, the minimum wage for tipped employees is currently $7.98 per hour. Employers can pay tipped workers $3.02 less than the minimum wage set by Florida law if their tips make up for the difference between the hourly rate paid and the Florida minimum wage rate.
In other words, eligible tipped employees who are paid the minimum wage of $7.98 per hour must receive at least $3.02 in tips for each working hour. The employer must increase the employee’s wage if their tips do not make up for this difference.
Florida employers are required to inform and agree with their employees on the amount of the tip credit rate (up to $3.02 per hour) well in advance.
An employer may not keep tips received or intended for their employees for any purpose other than for the actual costs associated with processing credit card payments. This means that employers cannot receive any tips earned by their tipped employees or require that their tipped employees pay for walk-outs, uniforms, or share their tips with tradtionally non-tipped employees.
Hourly and Salaried Employees
In Florida, both hourly and salaried workers are entitled to at least the state minimum wage. However, there are a few exceptions.
Salaried employees who meet certain conditions can be exempt from minimum wage requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Who Is Exempt From Minimum Wage in Florida?
There are several minimum wage exemptions under FLSA. The following are some examples:
- Executive and administrative employees
- Commissioned salespeople
- Farmworkers and commissioned employees
- Some trainees and full-time students
- Employees in seasonal and recreational companies
- Domestic service workers who live at the employer’s place of residence
The list of exempt employees is long. If you would like to know if you are exempt from minimum wage requirements in Florida, contact us at FairLaw Firm.
Local Minimum Wage Rates in Florida
Counties, municipalities, or cities in Florida may implement their own minimum wage rates that can exceed the statewide minimum wage only if the employer:
- Is the local government
- Is a contractor or subcontractor for the local government
- Receives tax reduction or exemption benefits from the local government
Political subdivisions can implement a prevailing wage, which is the average industry wage in the area, or a living wage that can support the normal standard of living.
Do Employers Have to Pay Minimum Wage?
Florida employers are required to pay their non-exempt employees at least the Florida state minimum wage. If they fail to do so, they could be held liable for unpaid wages and liquidated damages equal to the total unpaid minimum wage amount. Moreover, an employer who loses a claim for unpaid wages must pay the employee’s attorney fees and expenses.
New Minimum Wage Posters Available
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has published new state and federal minimum wage posters available to employers.
These posters must be highly visible, such as in the break room, where all employees can view them.
Posters must display the current minimum wage, overtime rates, and information regarding the 15-day safe harbor period.
FairLaw Firm Can Help
All non-exempt employees in Florida deserve a fair wage at or higher than the state’s minimum wage. If your employer did not properly pay you, our minimum wage attorneys are ready to help.
If you are an undocumented immigrant, remember that FLSA protects undocumented workers too. You should not accept a lower wage than you deserve and owe, regardless of your immigration status.
FairLaw Firm’s legal team is well-versed in all the nuances of the minimum wage law and is prepared to assist you. Our attorneys can advise you on your legal rights and assist you in unpaid minimum wage claims and lawsuits.
Contact Fairlaw Firm today for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the 15-day Safe Harbor in Florida Labor Law?
If you think you are illegally underpaid by your employer and would like to file a civil claim for unpaid wages, you must first notify the employer.
Section 448.110 of the Florida Minimum Wage Act requires that you must send your employer a written notice specifying the minimum wage rate for which you qualify, the number of work hours for which you seek compensation, and the total amount claimed before your pursue a claim for unpaid or underpaid minimum wages under Florida law.
If the employer does not pay the total amount claimed or resolve the matter to the employee’s satisfaction within 15 days, the employee may bring a claim for unpaid wages to a civil court.
Who Enforces Minimum Wage Laws in Florida?
The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor enforces minimum wages and oversees the implementation of common labor laws. It has seven offices across Florida, but this agency typically can only pursue claims for people who have not been paid the lower federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour because it lacks the ability to enforce the Florida minimum wage.
Many workers in Florida prefer to have an attorney represent them to recover the minimum wages owed to them under Florida law. Attorneys such as those at the FairLaw Firm seek to not only recover the minimum wages owed to employees under the Florida Minimum Wage, but also an equal amount as liquidated damages plus attorneys’ fees and costs.
Contact Fairlaw Firm today for a free consultation.