As many of you know, I have a crystal ball on my desk. This past August, I was asked to predict Florida’s minimum wage increase starting in January 2021. The crystal ball revealed that Florida would experience either an 8¢ or 9¢ increase from its current $8.56 minimum wage. Late last month, Florida announced a 9¢ increase.
The crystal ball was on the “money”. So what does this increase mean for Florida employers?
Starting on January 1, 2021, Florida’s minimum wage will increase to $8.65 per hour from $8.56. For those in the hospitality industry with “tipped employees”, a “tip credit” of up to $3.02 per hour may be taken for tips actually received by these employees. These employers must still pay employees a direct hourly wage of $5.63 [the 2021 Florida minimum wage rate ($8.65) minus the federal tip credit ($3.02)].
Florida employers must post a notice of the state minimum wage requirement (in addition to posting a notice as required by the FLSA). The notice is available on the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity website.
For those who have voted early or are voting tomorrow, Florida’s ballot contains a proposed amendment, Amendment 2, which seeks to increase Florida’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2026. If 60% or more voters vote yes on this amendment, Florida will have an initial increase in its minimum wage to $10.00 per hour beginning on September 30, 2021. This means the minimum wage will have increased twice before the end of 2021 (once in January and once in September). The September increase will be $1.44 from the current Florida minimum wage of $8.56 per hour (a 16.8% increase). The proposed amendment does not address the tip credit, but best guess is that the $3.02 tip credit will be allowed to be taken against the $10.00 per hour minimum wage.
If passed, Amendment 2 will then add another $1.00 each subsequent September 30th until Florida’s minimum wage reaches $15.00 on September 30, 2026. After that, Florida returns to using annual adjustments based on changes to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.
The crystal ball’s prediction regarding the fate of Amendment 2 is cloudy. However, it seems to indicate at least 55% of voters currently support the amendment and if there is a large turnout by Florida Democrats, it will narrowly pass the 60% goal line. If the amendment does pass, Florida employers will need to quickly adjust their 2021 budgets. If the amendment fails, most employers will breathe some sigh of relief and I will hit the reset button on my crystal ball for future labor and employment law predictions.