January 23, 2018

January 23, 2018

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January 22, 2018

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Florida Minimum Wage To Increase Tomorrow

Florida’s minimum wage increases tomorrow to $7.31 per hour -- a 6 cent increase. The minimum wage for tipped workers also goes up 6 cents, to $4.29 per hour. These increases are the result of a recent circuit court decision in Leon County ruling that the state’s method of calculating minimum wage was incorrect under the Florida Constitution.

The Florida Constitution and the Florida Minimum Wage Act require the state to annually “calculate an adjusted state Minimum Wage rate by increasing the state Minimum Wage by the rate of inflation for the twelve months prior to each September 1st using the consumer price index (CPI) for urban wage earners and clerical workers….” Neither the Constitution nor the Act specifically addresses deflation in the computation of the minimum wage. Yet, due to a slight cost of living decrease during the 12-month period preceding September 1, 2009, the state lowered the state minimum wage rate in 2010 from $7.21 to $7.06, dropping it below the federal minimum wage. Then, in determining the 2011 rate, the state calculated an increase to $7.16 (still below the federal rate) based on a 1.4 percent cost of living increase during the 12-month period preceding September 1, 2010.

The court found that the state’s method for calculating the state minimum wage rate was incorrect because, based on the constitutional language, the minimum wage cannot be decreased. Soon after the ruling, a Florida Senate bill intended to amend the Act consistent with the state’s approach was withdrawn from consideration.

When the federal and Florida minimum wage rates differ, Florida employers are required to pay the higher rate. Tomorrow’s increase raises the Florida minimum wage above the $7.25 federal minimum wage rate. Thus, employers currently paying federal minimum wage to eligible workers in Florida must adjust their pay practices accordingly. 

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As the U.S. labor market continues to evolve over the coming decades, adapting to three major trends will be vital for employers. First, changing workforce demographics, size and focus will become a key issue in the provision of professional services – particularly as the baby boom generation continues to age. Second, increasing globalization means that national borders will become a greater challenge for companies to manage, in terms of both their immigration and international commerce requirements. Lastly, the rapid pace of technological change will continue to...