Minimum Wage Increase Effective Today for Florida Employers
By Christopher B. Lunny
The federal minimum wage rate increases today (July 24, 2009) from $6.55 per hour to $7.25 per hour. This marks the third year in a row that the federal minimum wage has increased.
Florida employers have grown somewhat familiar with minimum wage increases over the past three years. Prior to July 24, 2009, the Florida minimum wage was $7.21 per hour. With the federal increase effective today, however, Florida employers must also increase their minimum wage to $7.25 per hour starting on July 24, 2009, as Florida employers are required to pay the higher of the state or federal minimum wage amounts.
The new minimum wage rate will also require Florida employers to increase the direct wages paid to tipped employees. Those Florida employers with tipped employees will increase their direct wages from $4.19 per hour to $4.23 per hour.
Florida employers must also be mindful of the posting requirements set forth in Florida Statute section 448.109(2), which requires employers who pay the Florida minimum wage to prominently display a minimum wage poster “in a conspicuous and accessible place in each establishment where such employees are employed.” Florida’s minimum wage poster is available, in English and Spanish, at the website for the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation: http://www.floridajobs.org/workforce/posters.html. The posters have been amended to mark the new increase which starts today.
Whether the wage increase will adversely affect employment opportunities in Florida remains to be seen. Earlier this week, the Agency for Workforce Innovation released Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June 2009. The number was a startling 10.6 percent, which represents 970,000 jobless individuals out of a workforce of 9,192,200. The June unemployment rate of 10.6 percent was up from the May 2009 rate of 10.3 percent. By comparison, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Florida one year ago was just 6 percent. The reported numbers leave little room to doubt that Florida’s labor market has been dramatically affected by economic tension over the past year.
The wage increase for Florida minimum wage workers will not be as dramatic as the impact in 29 other states where minimum wage rates will rise today. While Florida minimum wage workers will only see a 4 cent increase, minimum wage employees in Texas and Virginia, for example, will see an increase of 70 cents in their wage (from $6.55 per hour to $7.25 per hour).