On October 15, 2018, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced that, effective January 1, 2019, the minimum wage in the State of Florida will increase by $0.21 from $8.25 per hour to $8.46. This increase is tied to the DEO’s obligation under Florida law to readjust the state’s minimum wage rate annually based on the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers in the South Region. Thus, while the federal minimum wage will likely remain at $7.25 per hour for an undetermined period, Florida employers will be required to pay their non-exempt employees no less than the increased hourly state minimum wage in 2019 for all hours worked. This increased wage rate will also affect the calculation of the overtime compensation and minimum wage an employee in Florida is due.
Required Minimum Wage Notice
Florida employers are also required to post a Florida minimum wage notice in a conspicuous and accessible place in each establishment where employees who are required to be paid at least the minimum wage work. This Florida poster requirement is in addition to the federal requirement for employers to post a notice of the federal minimum wage. The Florida minimum wage poster, available in English, Creole, and Spanish, can be found here.
Minimum Wage and Notice Considerations for Tipped Employees
Florida employers of employees who receive tips and meet eligibility requirements for the tip credit under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) may credit, towards satisfaction of the minimum wage, tips up to the amount of the allowable FLSA tip credit in 2003 (or $3.02). However, the employer must pay tipped employees a direct wage that equals the Florida minimum wage minus the 2003 tip credit. Accordingly, the minimum wage for tipped employees in Florida will increase to $5.44 per hour in January 2019 from the current minimum tipped hourly rate of $5.23.
A byproduct of Florida’s minimum wage increase is that the numerical information required under the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) notice to tipped employees must be renewed. DOL regulations require that employers who take a tip credit against their minimum wage obligation must provide tipped employees with notice: (i) of the amount of cash wages the employer is paying the tipped employee; (ii) of the amount being claimed by the employer as tip credit; (iii) that the tip credit cannot exceed the amount of tips actually received; (iv) that the employee retains all tips except where a valid tip pool exists; and (v) that the tip credit will not apply to any tipped employees unless the employee has been informed of the foregoing provisions. While the DOL’s regulations do not require that the “tip credit notice” be in writing, employers would be wise to provide such notice to their tipped employees in writing and retain a signed copy of the notice as evidence of compliance.