A few months back, our blog discussed the minimum wage laws here in Florida, including the amounts for tipped and non-tipped employees alike, and the obligations of employers.
In light of the fact that the minimum wage here in the Sunshine State underwent a not insignificant jump in 2015, it may be time to revisit this topic, including taking a more in-depth look at employee rights in relation to minimum wage and the available options when violations occur.
What is the new minimum wage in Florida?
As of January 1, 2015, the minimum wage here in Florida for non-tipped employees is $8.05 per hour, a slight increase from 2014's minimum wage of $7.93 per hour and still considerably more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
As for their tipped employees, the direct hourly wage for 2015 is $5.03, a 12-cent increase from 2014.
The state's minimum wage is recalculated every year on September 30 according to the federal Consumer Price Index.
What options do employees have when their employer fails to pay them the minimum wage?
Employees have the right to file a civil action seeking not only back wages but also attorney's fees and damages. However, they must have first notified their employer of the problem and given them 15 days to produce the unpaid wages.
Are employees protected against retaliation by their employer for exercising their minimum wage rights?
Yes, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees for asserting their minimum wage rights, which are set forth in Section 24, Article X of the State Constitution.
These rights include the right to file a complaint regarding their employer's failure to comply with minimum wage laws, the right to inform anyone of their employer's failure to comply with minimum wage laws, and the right to inform anyone of their rights under the State Constitution and assist them accordingly.
It's important to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you would like to learn more about Florida's wage and hour laws, especially if you believe that you have been victimized by a possible employer violation.
Source: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, "Notice to employees: Minimum wage in Florida," Accessed Feb. 13, 2015