Minimum Wage in Florida 2022
In November 2021, Florida voters supported an initiative to raise the minimum hourly wage to $15.
What Is Minimum Wage In Florida?
The current hourly minimum wage rate is $10 per hour. The initiative to reach a $15 minimum wage is happening gradually, with a $1 per hour increase each year through 2026.
Why Increase The Minimum Wage in Florida?
Experts estimate that at least 200,000 Floridians live on minimum wage earnings. This initiative was an effort to elevate their income so that it is above the federal poverty level for a family of three.
Why Does Minimum Wage Exist?
The minimum wage was first introduced to the U.S. economy in 1938 after the Great Depression. The goal of a minimum wage for workers is to establish a foundation for standards of living. The idea is that employers cannot pay less than a livable wage to employees, to ensure that workers do not get taken advantage of and work for less than that because they need money.
What Is The Cost of Living In Florida?
For comparison, a mid-range two-bedroom apartment in the U.S. costs around $1,192 per month. With a cost index ranking of 97.9, Florida falls just below the national average for cost of living. Yet, these estimates are rising as the demand for homes in Florida increases.
Types of Minimum Wages in Florida
Here’s a breakdown of the different types of minimum wages in Florida.
Standard Minimum Wage
The standard minimum wage for an hourly job is $10 per hour. It applies to most jobs, except for a few that are exempt, which are outlined below.
Under 18 Minimum Wage
Florida has a unique law in place that allows employers to pay a lower hourly wage for the first 90 days of employment if a worker is under the age of 18. Employers may also have to meet the requirements of unique labor laws to protect minors in the workplace.
Tipped Minimum Wage
If an employee receives tips regularly, the minimum wage changes to $6.98 per hour. The Fair Labor Standards Act specifies that a tipped worker is anyone who makes at least $30 in tips per month.
However, there is a clause stating that if the hourly wage and tips do not equal Florida’s minimum wage, an employer must make up the difference. Tipped employees are therefore guaranteed to make the Florida state minimum wage of $10 per hour or more, depending on their tips.
Student Minimum Wage
Students in high school and college also face minimum wage exemptions in the state of Florida. Employers in designated segments are allowed to pay full-time employees as little as 85% of the state minimum wage. This would currently equal $8.50 or more per hour. These segments include:
- Service stores
- Colleges and universities
Any employment for students that are 16 or older that is designated as a “student-learner program” also offers an exemption for employers. These students may be paid as little as 85% of the standard minimum wage, which would currently equal $8.50 per hour.
These exemptions are designed to reward employers for hiring inexperienced workers and offering them the chance to learn through on-the-job training.
Minimum Wage Exemptions for People With Disabilities
Florida’s Fair Labor Standards Act was passed as a way to help people with disabilities gain employment. If a person has a physical or mental disability that impacts their quality of work, an employer can pay a lower wage.
The goal of this act is to encourage businesses to hire people with disabilities. The idea is that more employers will open up jobs to people with disabilities, offering a wider range of employment opportunities.
These are often referred to as “subminimum wages.” Many people — including people with disabilities and lawmakers — have argued against this exemption for years. They say it unfairly discriminates against those who are disabled and takes advantage of them.
What Is Florida’s Fair Labor Standards Act?
Florida passed the FLSA in 2009 to define the state’s minimum wage. If an employee works somewhere where a state and federal minimum wage both apply, the employee should be paid the higher wage.
Employees that work more than 40 hours per week get paid time and a half for any time worked past 40 hours. FLSA doesn’t impose a limit on the number of hours someone can work as long as they are 16 or older. All employers are required by law to display a poster that outlines FLSA requirements so that employees know their rights.
If an employer violates minimum wage laws and pays an employee less, the employee should first bring it to the employer’s attention in writing. After the written notice, the employer has 15 calendar days to pay the employee the difference owed in their wages. If an employer fails to pay, the employee may file a legal claim against the business.
The minimum wage in Florida increases every year through 2026. Employees who think they may be paid less than the state minimum wage should talk to their employer about their concerns.
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- U.S. Department of Labor. "State Minimum Wage Laws."
- Forbes. 2020. "Florida’s Minimum Wage Amendment Passed: What Happens Next?"
- Legal Information Institute. "Minimum Wage."
- Forbes. 2021. "The Hottest Housing Markets In Florida In 2021."
- U.S. Department of Labor. "Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act."