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Florida Minimum Wage: What Employers Need to Know

10 min read
Florida minimum wage

In the vibrant state of Florida, where the sun shines brightly and the economy thrives, understanding the intricacies of minimum wage regulations is crucial for employers. Unless you keep up to date with the ever-changing landscape of Florida minimum wage laws, your business may find itself navigating stormy legal waters. Notably, failing to comply with wage requirements can lead to costly penalties, damage your reputation, and cast a shadow over your business operations.

With this in mind, we have put together this comprehensive guide to the Florida minimum wage. In this guide, we will explore the history of the Florida minimum wage, current minimum wage rates in the state, and exemptions that may impact how much you should be paying your employees. We will also highlight the additional Florida wage laws that employers need to be aware of to ensure compliance and protect their businesses.

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How Does the Minimum Wage Work in the US?

The United States operates on a multi-tiered minimum wage system, with distinct levels set at the federal, state, and local levels. At the federal level, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes a baseline minimum wage, which is currently set at $7.25 per hour for untipped workers and $2.15 per hour for tipped workers. However, individual states have the authority to set their own minimum wage rates, provided they exceed the federal standard. As a result, there is a mix of minimum wage laws across the nation, reflecting the diverse economic situations in each state.

State minimum wage laws often consider the varying costs of living, economic conditions, and regional disparities. Several states have set minimum wages higher than the federal benchmark, acknowledging the need to align wage rates with the local cost of living. Additionally, certain municipalities within states have implemented their own minimum wage laws to reflect the unique economic circumstances of their local communities. This intricate web of regulations aims to ensure that American workers receive fair compensation in line with the specific challenges and costs they face in their respective regions.

In addition to understanding and complying with Florida minimum wage laws, employers should also consider the role of minimum wage increases in attracting and retaining talent. Why? Because as the cost of living continues to rise, employees are increasingly looking for employers who can provide them with a living wage. By staying ahead of the curve and proactively implementing minimum wage increases, employers can position themselves as desirable workplaces and build a strong and loyal workforce.

History of the Florida Minimum Wage

The history of the Florida minimum wage law is a tale of gradual increases and occasional setbacks. Prior to 2005, Florida’s minimum wage was tied to the federal minimum wage, which has been in place since 1938. However, in 2005, voters approved a constitutional amendment known as Amendment 5, which established a state minimum wage that exceeded the federal standard. Initially fixed at $6.15 per hour, this marked a significant $1 increase over the prevailing federal rate.

Amendment 5 brought a crucial change, mandating annual adjustments to Florida’s minimum wage in response to shifts in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), a measure of inflation. This provision aimed to ensure that the Florida minimum wage kept pace with the rising cost of living.

Since then, the Florida minimum wage has increased several times. In 2006, it rose to $6.40 per hour and in 2007 it increased to $6.67 per hour. In 2009, it jumped to $7.21 per hour, and then to $7.25 per hour in 2010. However, the Florida minimum wage remained stagnant for several years after that. It wasn’t until 2016 that it finally increased again, to $8.05 per hour. In 2017, it rose to $8.10 per hour. In 2018, it increased to $8.25 per hour. And in 2019, it jumped to $8.46 per hour.

In 2021, a voter-approved constitutional amendment increased Florida’s minimum wage to $10.00 per hour. In 2022, it further increased to $11.00 per hour. And in 2023, it increased to $12.00 per hour. These increases have been met with mixed reactions. Some argue that they are necessary to help low-wage workers make ends meet. Others argue that they will lead to job losses and higher prices for consumers.

Current Florida Minimum Wage Rates

The current Florida minimum wage is $12.00 per hour as of September 30, 2023. This is a $1.00 increase from the previous minimum wage of $11.00 per hour. The Florida minimum wage is scheduled to increase by $1.00 every year until it reaches $15.00 per hour in 2026.

However, there are two different minimum wage rates in Florida: one for non-tipped employees and one for tipped employees. Non-tipped employees must be paid at least $12.00 per hour. Tipped employees must be paid at least $8.98 per hour in cash wages, plus tips. Employers can take a tip credit of up to $3.02 per hour for tipped employees.

There are also a number of exemptions and special cases where the above Florida minimum wage rates don’t apply. More on this in the next section.

Ultimately, the Florida minimum wage is intended to provide a basic standard of living for workers in the state. It is important to note however that the minimum wage is not a living wage, which is the wage that a worker needs to earn to afford a basic standard of living. The living wage in Florida is $15.76 per hour for a single adult with no children, and $28.88 per hour for a family of two adults and two children.

Exemptions and Special Cases

While the Florida minimum wage is generally set at $12.00 per hour, there are certain exemptions and special cases that apply to specific types of employees or businesses. These exemptions reflect the diverse nature of Florida’s economy and the unique circumstances faced by certain industries or workers.

General exemptions:

  • Small businesses. Businesses with annual sales under $110,000 can pay a minimum wage of $4.00 per hour. This exemption is intended to provide flexibility for small businesses that may operate with limited resources and face challenges in meeting the standard minimum wage.
  • Agricultural and seasonal workers. Agricultural workers are subject to a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. This lower rate reflects the unique circumstances of the agricultural industry, which is often characterized by seasonal fluctuations in demand and labor requirements.
  • State and local government employees. Employees of state and local governments are also exempt from the Florida minimum wage. These workers are subject to their own wage scales, which are typically determined through collective bargaining agreements or other labor relations processes.
  • Non-profit organizations. If a non-profit organization can demonstrate that it is financially unable to pay the minimum wage, it can receive an exemption from the Florida Department of Labor.

In addition to these general exemptions, there are also special cases that apply to certain types of employees.

Special cases:

  • Tipped employees. Tipped workers, like waiters and waitresses, receive a base wage of $8.98 per hour, with tips supplementing their earnings. Employers must ensure they earn the minimum wage, including tips, over a workweek.
  • Student learners. Student learners enrolled in vocational education programs can be paid a minimum wage of $4.25 per hour.

Florida Minimum Wage Compliance and Enforcement

Ensuring compliance with Florida minimum wage laws is crucial for employers. The Florida Department of Labor (FDOL) is responsible for enforcing these laws and investigating complaints from employees. The department has the authority to conduct inspections, subpoena records, and interview employees and employers.

If minimum wage violations are found, the FDOL can issue penalties, including:

  • Fines: Employers may be fined up to $2,000 per violation.
  • Back pay: Employers may be required to pay back pay to employees who were not paid the minimum wage.
  • Punitive damages: In severe cases, employers may be ordered to pay punitive damages in addition to back pay.
  • Criminal charges. In some instances, criminal charges may be filed against employers who willfully violate the Florida minimum wage laws.

Additional Florida Wage Laws to Consider

In addition to the Florida minimum wage, The Sunshine State has various other wage laws that employers must adhere to. These laws cover various aspects of employee compensation, working conditions, and employee rights, ensuring fair and equitable treatment for all workers in the state.

Here’s a comprehensive overview of additional Florida wage laws that employers need to consider. By understanding and complying with these laws, employers can ensure fair treatment of their employees, protect themselves from legal claims, and maintain a positive reputation in the workplace.

Overtime Pay

Firstly, Florida adheres to federal overtime regulations outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This means that employers must provide overtime pay to all non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a seven-day workweek. The overtime rate is 1.5 times the employee’s regular hourly rate. Employers must accurately calculate and pay overtime wages to eligible employees to avoid legal repercussions.

Meal and Rest Breaks

Secondly, while Florida does not mandate specific meal or rest breaks for adult employees, employers must adhere to federal regulations regarding breaks. Specifically, employers must provide meal breaks of at least 30 minutes for every 5 hours worked. Employers must also provide employees with a rest break of at least 10 minutes for every 4 hours worked. These breaks are mandatory for non-exempt employees and employers must pay for all rest breaks (but not meal breaks).

Pay Stubs

Employers must provide employees with pay stubs that include their name, address, employer’s name and address, date of pay, hours worked, pay rate, gross earnings, deductions, and net pay. Pay stubs must be accurate and readily accessible to employees.

In addition, Florida law requires employers to provide employees with their final paychecks on the next regularly scheduled payday following termination. This includes payment for accrued vacation time, if applicable.

Wage Payment Frequency

Florida law requires employers to pay non-exempt employees at least twice a month. Employers can pay exempt employees less frequently, but the payment interval should be consistent and clearly communicated to employees.

Wage Theft Prevention Act

Florida has enacted the Wage Theft Prevention Act, which requires employers to provide employees with written notice of their wage rates and other employment-related information at the time of hire.

This proactive measure not only enhances pay transparency but also ensures that workers are well-informed about crucial aspects of their employment from the outset. Employers in Florida should prioritize compliance with this act to uphold the state’s standards for equitable employment practices and avoid potential legal complications associated with wage-related disputes.

Equal Pay for Equal Work

Florida law prohibits discrimination in pay based on sex, race, color, religion, national origin, or disability. Employers must ensure that employees receive equal pay for equal work. This is in line with the federal Equal Pay Act which aims to ensure pay parity across genders.

It’s important for companies to follow this law, creating a fair pay system and a work environment where they value everyone’s contributions, no matter who they are.

Wage Garnishment

In Florida, there are legal protections in place that place restrictions on the portion of an employee’s disposable earnings that employers can garnish for purposes such as debt collection. Disposable earnings refer to the money left after deducting legally required withholdings, such as taxes and Social Security contributions.

Essentially, the state has established limits to prevent excessive garnishment, aiming to ensure that employees retain a sufficient portion of their earnings to cover necessary living expenses.

These limits are as follows:

  • For disposable earnings exceeding $530: Employers can garnish up to 25% of disposable earnings.
  • For disposable earnings between $350 and $530: Employers can garnish up to 20% of disposable earnings.
  • And for disposable earnings below $350: Employers cannot deduct more than $50.

These regulations contribute to a balance between the rights of creditors to collect debts and the need for employees to maintain a reasonable standard of living despite financial challenges. It’s crucial for employers and employees alike to be aware of these limitations to navigate debt-related issues within the bounds of Florida’s legal framework.

Recordkeeping Requirements

Finally, employers must maintain accurate records of employee hours worked, pay rates, earnings, deductions, and pay stubs. They must also keep these records for a minimum of three years and provide them to the FDOL for inspection upon request.

How to Ensure Compliance with Florida Wage Laws

Employers can avoid wage violations by taking proactive steps to ensure compliance. By doing so, employers can protect their businesses from legal consequences and maintain a reputation for ethical labor practices.

Specifically, employers can maintain compliance with Florida’s wage laws by following these best practices:

  • Understanding the Florida minimum wage and additional wage laws. Firstly, employers should thoroughly understand the applicable minimum wage rates for their industry and the exemptions and special cases that may apply. The same applies to all other wage laws in the state.
  • Accurate recordkeeping. Secondly, make sure you maintain accurate records of employee hours worked, pay rates, and earnings. These records are essential for verifying compliance and responding to FDOL inquiries.
  • Timely payment. Thirdly, ensure that you pay employees accurately and on time, including overtime pay and any applicable bonuses or commissions.
  • Employee education. Finally, inform employees about their rights under the Florida wage laws and encourage them to report any potential violations.

The Role of Technology in Florida Wage Law Compliance

Technology plays a crucial role in simplifying and streamlining wage law compliance for employers. Payroll software, in particular, can provide numerous benefits:

  • Automated calculations: Eliminate manual calculations and reduce the risk of human error, ensuring accurate wage payments and compliance with minimum wage requirements.
  • Centralized data management: Maintain a centralized database of employee payroll data, enabling easy access and retrieval of records for audits or investigations.
  • Real-time compliance monitoring: Monitor payroll practices in real-time to identify potential compliance issues and take corrective actions promptly.
  • Regulatory updates: Stay informed about changes in wage laws and regulations and automatically update payroll systems to ensure ongoing compliance.
  • Reduced administrative burden: Automate payroll processes, reducing administrative burdens and freeing up time for other tasks.

Factorial’s Solution to Managing the Florida Minimum Wage

Managing payroll can be a daunting task, especially for businesses navigating the intricacies of Florida minimum wage laws and other additional worker regulations in the state. Factorial, a cloud-based payroll software solution, simplifies payroll management and ensures compliance with these regulations.

Specifically, Factorial’s comprehensive payroll software boasts a range of features that streamline payroll processes and enhance compliance:

  • Automated payroll calculations. Factorial automates payroll calculations, including taxes and deductions. This eliminates the need for manual calculations and reduces the risk of errors.
  • Robust payroll security. Factorial employs bank-level payroll security measures to safeguard sensitive payroll data, ensuring that employee information remains protected.
  • Seamless QuickBooks integration. Factorial seamlessly integrates with QuickBooks, enabling effortless synchronization of payroll data and eliminating the need for manual data entry.
  • Effortless pay raise processing. Factorial simplifies pay raise processing by allowing businesses to enter new pay rates. The system then automatically calculates updated payroll amounts at the end of each pay period.
  • Flexible pay periods. Factorial supports various pay periods, including weekly, biweekly, and monthly, catering to the diverse needs of businesses.
  • Automatic holiday pay calculations. Factorial automatically calculates holiday pay for employees, ensuring accurate compensation during holiday periods and Florida state holidays.
  • On-demand pay access. Factorial offers on-demand pay. This gives employees the flexibility to access their earnings before the next pay period, providing financial relief when needed.
  • Comprehensive payroll records and reporting. Factorial centralizes payroll data and generates detailed payroll reports, facilitating comprehensive recordkeeping and reporting.

Ultimately, with Factorial, businesses can effectively manage their payroll systems, ensure Florida minimum wage compliance, and establish a fair and equitable compensation structure that fosters employee satisfaction, motivation, and productivity.

Cat Symonds is a freelance writer, editor, and translator. Originally from Wales, she studied Spanish and French at the University of Swansea before moving to Barcelona where she lived and worked for 12 years. She has since relocated back to Wales where she continues to build her business, working with clients in Spain and the UK.  Cat is the founder of The Content CAT: Content And Translation, providing content development and translation services to her clients. She specializes in corporate blogs, articles of interest, ghostwriting, and translation (SP/FR/CA into EN), collaborating with a range of companies from a variety of business sectors. She also offers services to a number of NGOs including Oxfam Intermón, UNICEF, and Corporate Excellence - Centre for Reputation Leadership.  For more information or to contact Cat visit her website ( or send her a message through LinkedIn.

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