If you are a minimum wage worker in Florida, you probably already were aware that your first 2015 paycheck would be slightly bigger, as Florida is one of the states that raised its minimum wage in 2015. The state annually reviews and may modify its rates for minimum wages according to the Florida state constitution. Any modifications are based on a formula that factors in both the cost of living and inflation rates. All changes must be decided upon by the end of September. Prior to January 1, 2015, minimum wage workers in the Sunshine State earned $7.93 per hour and are now making $8.05.
There are exceptions to the state’s minimum wage laws, and one of them exempts tipped workers like waiters, who are paid $4.91 per hour, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. However, businesses that agree to pay their workers the lower tipped rate must also make sure that their employees actually receive the standard minimum wage after their hourly rate is added to the tips they receive. The state uses the Fair Labor Standards Act to determine the criteria for which workers are eligible to be paid at the lower rate. Additionally, in Florida, business owners are not prohibited from requiring or allowing their tipped workers to pool their tips.
Because there are no state specific laws determining overtime wages in Florida, the state automatically defers to federal overtime laws covered under the FLSA. Only workers under the age of 18 are guaranteed by state law to be given meal breaks of no less than a half hour if they work continuously for four or more hours. Federal rules apply for workers 18 and up; companies are not mandated to allow their workers to take either meal or rest breaks during their shifts. If companies to choose to give their workers a break of less than 20 minutes, it must be compensated time. Meal breaks do not have to be paid and are usually at least 30 minutes, with the employee being free to do as they choose during this time period.
Florida has no laws on the books governing when employees must receive their final paychecks. According to the Florida Office of Workforce Services, those workers who are having trouble getting their last paycheck should seek assistance from the United States Department of Labor.
Florida Statute 448.07 states that any discrimination in the pay rate for employees that is based on sex is prohibited if the following conditions of employment apply:
If you run into employment or wage problems on the job, a good source of advice on the matter is a Florida employment law attorney.
Have you been discriminated against by a potential or current employer — either as a job applicant or current employee? To best protect your legal rights, you should discuss your situation with an employment lawyer. An attorney can help you determine what your options are for seeking justice and level the playing field against corporate lawyers. Meet with a local wage and hour attorney sooner rather than later to protect your rights.
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