The Florida Constitution Guarantees Workers The Right To Receive Minimum Wage
Did You Know That The Florida Constitution Guarantees Workers The Right To Receive Minimum Wage
It’s true. Section X, Article 24 of the Florida Constitution is titled “Florida Minimum Wage” and it states as follows:
(a) PUBLIC POLICY. All working Floridians are entitled to be paid a minimum wage that is sufficient to provide a decent and healthy life for them and their families, that protects their employers from unfair low-wage competition, and that does not force them to rely on taxpayer-funded public services in order to avoid economic hardship.
The requirement that all working Floridians receive a minimum wage also appears in the Florida Statutes as part of the Florida Minimum Wage Act at Fla. Stat. §448.110. These provisions are similar to those of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and can be interpreted to apply to more workers than the FLSA.
Payment of minimum wages has become a hot issue with the Department of Labor. The Department of Labor recently announced partnerships with the IRS and with several States to go after businesses who failed to pay a minimum wage to employees.
While payment of minimum wage is important to everyone trying to “get by”, it is especially important in this economy – in which people are struggling more than ever and willing to work for almost anything just to make ends meet. This type of economy favors employers, who can dictate the terms, conditions, and pay for most jobs because of the supply of unemployed workers who are trying to find any job a this point.
As with overtime wages, an employee receives less than the minimum wage has rights available to him or her. Because of the difference in power between employers and workers, the law protects workers to ensure that they receive at least a minimum wage. Thus, workers who were paid less than a minimum wage – even if they agreed to receive less or were (mis)classified as a independent contractor- are still entitled to protection. They can not only make a claim to recover the difference between their pay and minimum wage, but they can receive liquidated damages (equal to double that amount) as a penalty. As an additional penalty for not paying a minimum wage, their employer is responsible for paying the worker’s attorneys’ fees.
These penalties and sanctions are available to workers – and often benefit workers more than the actions taken by the IRS, Department of Labor, or other government entities. Underpaid workers who were paid less than a minimum wage have an ally in a skilled labor attorney who knows the wage and hour laws.