What Florida workers can do if their employers violate state's new minimum wage requirement

Effective Sept. 30, Florida’s minimum wage will rise from its current $8.65 per hour to $10 an hour.

click to enlarge Fight For $15 activists outside a McDonald's in Tampa, Florida on Jan. 15, 2021. - Dave Decker
Dave Decker
Fight For $15 activists outside a McDonald's in Tampa, Florida on Jan. 15, 2021.

Earlier this year, the Florida Legislature passed a $13 minimum wage initiative for state employees, signed into law by Gov. DeSantis in June. A $15 minimum wage is also in effect for all City of Tampa employees.

And effective Sept. 30, Florida’s minimum wage will rise from its current $8.65 per hour to $10 an hour, or $6.98 plus tips for tipped employees.

Florida Statutes require that employers who pay workers a minimum wage post a notice about the upcoming minimum wage increase in a “conspicuous and accessible” spot in the workplace, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Any employer who’s found liable for intentionally violating minimum wage requirements is subject to a fine of $1,000 per violation, payable to the state. Employers are also legally barred from retaliating against workers who exercise their right to a minimum wage.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped employers from violating minimum wage requirements before. 

A recent report from the Florida Policy Institute, for instance, shows that over a 14-year period, roughly 17%, or 250,000 low-wage workers in Florida each year on average, were paid less than minimum wage after the state’s last major minimum wage increase in 2005, from $5.15 to $6.15 an hour.

While Florida doesn’t have a state agency to ensure that employers are following Florida’s minimum wage requirement, this doesn’t leave workers without options.

Depending on where you live, there may be several options for reporting an employer for minimum wage violations and asserting your right to a minimum wage.

Options for reporting wage theft in Tampa Bay and statewide:

  • Statewide File a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, or through Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office
  • Pinellas County Call the Pinellas County Office of Human Rights to file a complaint, if covered by the county’s Wage Theft and Recovery Ordinance, or fill out a Wage and Recovery Complaint Online Form
  • Hillsborough County Call Consumer Protection Services at (813) 635-8316 or fill out this online complaint form
  • Tampa Contact the ESA Wage and Hour Division at the Tampa District Office by calling (813) 288-1242 or visiting 4200 W Cypress Street, Suite 444

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About The Author

McKenna Schueler

McKenna Schueler is a freelance journalist based in Tampa, Florida. She regularly writes about labor, politics, policing, and behavioral health. You can find her on Twitter at @SheCarriesOn and send news tips to [email protected].

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