Florida Employers Face Mid-Year Minimum Wage Increase

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In response to a recent Circuit Court decision, the State of Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI) has announced that, effective June 1, 2011, the Florida minimum wage will increase to $7.31 per hour. With this increase, Florida will once again exceed the federal minimum wage, and employers operating within the State will be required to comply with the higher standard.

Also effective on June 1, 2011, those “tipped employees” in Florida who otherwise meet eligibility requirements for the tip credit under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will have to be paid a direct cash wage of at least $4.29 per hour. This is an amount equal to the new Florida minimum of $7.31 per hour, minus the $3.02 hourly tip credit permitted under Florida law (assuming that these employees receive enough in tips to generate this credit).

Employers taking advantage of the FLSA’s “Section 7(i)” overtime exception for commission-paid employees of retail or service establishments should note that the FLSA defines the exception with reference to the federal minimum-wage rate rather than state law. Consequently, an employer relying upon this exception need only ensure that an affected employee’s average or “regular” rate in an overtime workweek is more than 1.5 times the federal minimum wage. Because the federal minimum wage currently remains unchanged, an employee paid under this exemption must continue to earn more than $10.88 per hour in overtime weeks.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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