Monday, November 03, 2008

Worker Minimum Wages Rising

New Wage Minimum In Effect January 1

LABELLE, FL. -- Florida's minimum wage will be $7.21 per hour, effective January 1, 2009. This is up from the $6.79 per hour minimum wage in 2008. On November 2, 2004, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment which created Florida's minimum wage. The minimum wage applies to all employees in the state who are covered by the federal minimum wage.  Florida law requires the Agency for Workforce Innovation to calculate a new minimum wage each year and publish the new minimum wage on January 1.

The current minimum wage represents a 6.2 percent change in the federal Consumer Price Index for urban wage
earners and clerical workers in the South Region for the 12-month period prior to September 1, 2008.

In deciding whether the federal or state minimum wage applies, federal law directs that businesses must pay the higher of the two. The Florida minimum wage will prevail over the federal rate until such time as the federal minimum
wage becomes higher than the state rate.   The federal minimum wage will increase to $7.25 on July 24, 2009.  On this date, Florida employers must increase the minimum wage from $7.21 to $7.25. 

Employers must pay their employees the hourly state minimum wage for all hours worked in Florida. The definitions of "employer," "employee" and "wage" for state purposes are the same as those established under the federal Fair
Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Employers of "tipped employees" who meet eligibility requirements for the tip credit under the FLSA, may count tips actually received as wages under the FLSA. However, the employer must
pay "tipped employees" a direct wage. The direct wage is calculated as equal to the minimum wage ($7.21) minus the 2003 tip credit ($3.02), or a direct hourly wage of $4.19 as of January 1, 2009.

Employees who are not paid the minimum wage may bring a civil action against the employer or any person violating Florida's minimum wage law. The state attorney general may also bring an enforcement action to enforce the
minimum wage. FLSA information and compliance assistance can be found at:

The Florida and federal minimum wage will increase as follows:

$6.79 ­ January 1, 2008  Florida Current Minimum Wage
$7.21 ­ January 1, 2009  Florida New Minimum Wage
$7.25 ­ July 24, 2009 Federal and Florida New Minimum Wage

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