I originally hail from Toronto, Canada. As an employment attorney now practicing in Florida, I enjoy comparing US employment laws with their Canadian counterparts. So first, the news from Florida.
On January 1, 2018, Florida’s minimum wage will increase from $8.10 per hour to $8.25 per hour. This adjustment is based on the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers in the South Region. For a full-time Florida employee earning the minimum wage, the increase results in $6 more per week, or $312 a year, before taxes and deductions. This increase is more substantial than last year’s increase of $104 before taxes and deductions.
Employers of tipped employees that are eligible for a tip credit under the Fair Labor Standards Act may continue to take a tip credit of up to $3.02. However, beginning January 1, 2018, these Florida employers must pay tipped employees a direct wage of $5.23 per hour.
So what’s the minimum wage in Ontario (the province in which Toronto is located) these days? Today its $11.60 CAD (roughly $9.11 USD) per hour. Ontario’s Premier aims to increase the minimum wage to $15 CAD (roughly $11.79 USD) per hour by January 2019. To my Canadian friends, that is seven toonies and one loonie. (For non-native speakers, the Canadian $2 coin is called the toonie and the $1 coin is called the loonie-named after the loon, a common Canadian bird, pictured on the coin.)
Although it seems one figure is clearly higher than Florida, don’t forget that Canadians pay more in taxes including a value added tax on almost all our retail purchases, which is much higher than Florida’s sales tax. So I am not sure who has the higher effective minimum wage.
While the new Florida minimum wage is an interesting topic to discuss over a Thanksgiving dinner or a Holiday cocktail party, Florida employers should remember to implement the new minimum wage on January 1, 2018, and to replace their Florida minimum wage poster with the new one. Posters can be found here in English, Spanish, and Creole.