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Florida is one of only 10 states which ties its minimum wage rate to the annual rate of inflation as reflected in the federal Consumer Price Index (CPI). Thus, every year the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity must re-calculate the State’s minimum wage rate based on the CPI figures. Last year, Florida’s minimum wage was raised to $7.67/hour. This year’s calculation has resulted in a 1.6% ($.12/hour) increase in the State’s minimum wage to $7.79/hour, effective January 1, 2013. The Federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour.

For employers who take advantage of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) tip credit, the minimum direct/cash wage for tipped employees, effective January 1, 2013, is $4.77/hour. Care should be taken before attempting to claim the tip credit as it is under attack by the U.S. Department of Labor and private attorneys.

For retail (or service establishment) employers who take advantage of the FLSA's overtime exception for commissioned employees, the Florida minimum wage is not a factor and so they need only comply with the FLSA requirements. Thus, commissioned employees must be paid an average rate of $10.88/hour (1 ½ times the federal minimum wage) in any week in which they work overtime. Care is also warranted before invoking this overtime exemption since at least 50% of the employee’s total compensation must be derived from commissions.

The Florida mandated minimum wage notice, which must be posted in each workplace in a conspicuous and accessible place, is available in English and in Spanish from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s website. The federal poster which must be posted in addition to the Florida poster, is available from the U.S. Department of Labor website.

Recently, more federal wage and hour lawsuits have been filed in Florida than in all other states combined. For the most part, these lawsuits are avoidable.