Florida’s minimum wage is on the rise. Below are 6 things to know about minimum wage in Florida so employers and employees alike can prepare for the changes ahead.
What is the current minimum wage in Florida?
While the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, it is higher in the state of Florida. Florida is one of only eight states that automatically adjusts the minimum wage based on the annual cost of living. On January 1, 2020, the minimum wage in Florida was increased from $8.46 per hour to $8.56 per hour or 1.12%.
Who determines the minimum wage in Florida?
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) determines the state’s minimum wage. Florida statute requires that every year the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) specifies the state’s minimum wage rate. The DEO uses the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to determine the annual cost of living in Florida. The CPI is the federal government’s official measurement of inflation and is determined by the United States Department of Labor. The calculate the CPI, the Department of Labor measures tens of thousands of goods and services across nearly 15,000 families throughout the country. They then take into account how much of a family’s budget is consumed by these items in a year. If the CPI increases, the cost of living in that area also increases. The DEO calculates the minimum wage rate in Florida based on the state’s Consumer Price Index.
When is the minimum wage in Florida recalculated?
The minimum wage in Florida is recalculated every year on September 30, which is the end of the state’s fiscal year. The DEO determines if the minimum wage rate will remain the same or increase slightly due to the Consumer Price Index. If the Consumer Price Index increases in Florida, then the minimum wage rate will be increased to reflect that change. The minimum wage cannot be adjusted down, it can remain the same or increase.
Changes to the minimum wage rate.
A 2004 Florida ballot initiative known as the Florida Minimum Wage Amendment approved a constitutional amendment that increases the state’s minimum wage rate every year, based on inflation. The ballot summary stated, “The state minimum wage will start at $6.15 per hour six months after enactment, and after that be indexed to inflation each year. It provides for enforcement, including damages for unpaid wages, attorney’s fees, and fines issued by the state. It forbids retaliation against employees for exercising this right.” The 2004 Florida Minimum Wage Amendment, approved by over 5 million Floridians, paved the wage for the Florida minimum wage rate to exceed the national minimum wage rate.
Are there plans to change the minimum wage rate in Florida after 2020?
Florida will once again face the choice of raising its minimum wage in 2020. A ballot measure was approved by the Florida Supreme Court to place Amendment 2 on the November 3, 2020, ballot. If approved, the amendment would establish a new hourly minimum wage rate of $10 an hour on September 30, 2021, and incrementally increase that rate by $1 every year until September 30, 2026, when the minimum wage rate in Florida would be $15 an hour. The DEO would then calculate increases beyond 2026 based on increases in the cost of living.
What are the impacts of an increased minimum wage rate in Florida?
Supporters of the minimum wage rate change argue that Amendment 2 would “reverse decades of growing pay inequality” in Florida and provide a living wage to 200,000 Floridians, many of whom are also supporting a family. They also claim that the cost of living in Florida is higher than the national average, especially in the areas of transportation and housing and that an increased minimum wage rate would increase economic activity and job growth throughout the state. Opponents of the minimum wage rate change argue that Amendment 2 would create a “trickle-down” effect of increased costs to business owners, which would cause a reduction in the number of employees or employee hours or force employers to find ways to offset the increase through automation. These costs, they claim, will ultimately be passed down to consumers.
It would help if you were prepared for the changes ahead. To ensure your employer remains in compliance with changes to the Florida minimum wage rate, or to answer minimum wage rate questions, consult a qualified Florida wage and hour attorney. The employment attorneys at FGBO Law are here to help. Contact us today at (727) 254-5255.
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