Miami-Dade County requires that contractors who perform certain services for the County pay their employees a “Living Wage” that is almost double the minimum wage. The Miami-Dade County living wage was $13.01 per hour from October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010, increased to $13.29 an hour on October 1, 2010, and then increased to $13.41 dollars an hour as of October 1, 2011 (the living wage is slightly less if you get health insurance). The Florida minimum wage was $7.25 per hour until June 2, 2011, when it was increased to $7.31 per hour, which means that the Miami-Dade County Living Wage is almost double minimum wage.
Article I, Section 2-8.9 of the Miami-Dade County Code of Ordinances requires that Miami-Dade County employees, people who work for a Service Contractor at a Miami-Dade County Aviation Department Facility, and people who work for a company that has a contract with the county worth more than $100,000 per year in the following industries:
- Food preparation and/or distribution;
- Security services;
- Routine maintenance services such as custodial, cleaning, refuse removal, repair, refinishing, and recycling;
- Clerical or other non-supervisory office work, whether temporary or permanent;
- Transportation and parking services including airport and seaport services;
- Printing and reproduction services; and
- Landscaping, lawn, and/or agricultural services.
Miami-Dade County requires that every employer who is required to pay a “Living Wage” must also take steps to make sure that workers know they are to be paid at least a “Living Wage”. First, on an employee’s first paycheck and every six months thereafter, the following statement must appear: “You are required by Miami-Dade County law to be paid at least [insert applicable rate under this Chapter] dollars an hour. If you are not paid this hourly rate, contact your supervisor or a lawyer.” In addition, every “Living Wage” employer must, “kept posted by the employer at the site of the work in a prominent place where it can easily be seen by the employees and shall be supplied to the employee within a reasonable time after a request to do so.”
A worker for one of these companies who was not paid a “Living Wage” can either make a complaint to the County or hire an attorney and sue. Employees who sue for not getting paid a “Living Wage” can stand to recover back pay, benefits, attorney’s fees, and costs. Plus, the court may also impose sanctions on the employer, including those persons or entities aiding or abetting the employer, to include wage restitution to the affected employee and damages payable to the covered employee in the sum of up to five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each week that the employer is found to have violated the Living Wage ordinance. For employees who were not paid a “Living Wage”, this means they could recover even more money than their unpaid wages.
Cities like Miami Beach also have a living wage ordinance, and although Miami Beach’s living wage is not the same as Miami-Dade County’s, it still is much higher than minimum wage.
The Living Wage can not only significantly affect how much an employee should have been paid, but it also drastically increases the overtime wage that employees may be entitled to receive.
The FairLaw Firm is familiar with wage and overtime issues and routinely represents employees in recovering their unpaid and/or underpaid wages. Contact the FairLaw Firm to find out more information or to discuss a potential claim.