|Posted by Danialle on May 6, 2011 at 4:21 PM|
The legal process works. At least this time. Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis ruled this week that the State of Florida violated Florida’s Constitution by failing to raise the state minimum wage on January 1 to reflect last year’s increase in the cost of living. As a result, the rate will be increased from $7.25 to $7.31 an hour effective June 1st.
This ruling should means that the minimum wage should be considered and adjusted each year to be in compliance with Florida's Constituion. On November 2, 2004, Floridians voted to amend the Constitution to enact a state minimum wage. Under the voter-approved amendment, the minimum wage would increase every January to keep pace with any cost of living increase the past year.
Employers must pay their employees the hourly state minimum wage for all hours worked in Florida. The definitions of "employer", "employee", and "wage" for state purposes are the same as those established under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers of "tipped employees" who meet eligibility requirements for the tip credit under the FLSA, may count tips actually received as wages under the Florida minimum wage. However, the employer must pay "tipped employees" a direct wage. The direct wage is calculated as equal to the minimum wage ($7.31) minus the 2003 tip credit ($3.02), or a direct hourly wage of $4.29 as of June 1, 2011.
Employees who are not paid the minimum wage may bring a civil action against the employer or any person violating Florida's minimum wage law.
If you have questions or believe your rights have been violated, contact the Riggins Law Firm. 352-433-2400.
-Danialle Riggins, Esq. May 6, 2011