Florida’s Minimum Wage is Going Up in 2019

On January 1, 2019, Florida’s minimum hourly wage will be $8.46 per hour. This is twenty-one cents, or 2.59%, higher than 2018’s minimum wage of $8.25. The minimum wage for tipped employees, which is in addition to tips, is also going up twenty-one cents to $5.44 per hour.

Florida’s minimum wage applies to those employees entitled to receive the federal minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act. It is adjusted annually for inflation. According to the Florida Supreme Court, only upward adjustments are permitted.

Employers are required to pay the federal or their state’s minimum hourly wage, whichever is higher. Since Florida’s 2019 minimum hourly wage will be higher than the federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25, Florida employees entitled to minimum wage cannot be paid less than $8.46 per hour.

Florida employers must prominently display a minimum wage poster in a conspicuous and accessible place wherever minimum wage employees are employed. This poster must notify employees of the minimum wage and of their rights and protections under Florida’s Minimum Wage Act.

Employees can sue employers for minimum wage violations, but they must first provide 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.
Upon receiving such notice, an employer has 15 calendar days to pay the total amount of unpaid wages or resolve the claim to the employee’s satisfaction. Otherwise, the employee will be allowed to file a lawsuit for unpaid minimum wages. The Florida Attorney General can also bring a civil action against employers. Each willful violation can result in a $1,000 fine.

To protect against employment practices liability claims, employers should implement a training program and explore their options for insuring against wage and hour claims.

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