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April 20, 2005
Florida Gets New Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in Florida is rising to $6.15 effective May 2, 2005.

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In November 2004, voters approved a minimum-wage amendment to the state's constitution. The voter-approved amendment also tied future minimum-wage changes to the Consumer Price Index.

Each year on September 30, Florida's Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI) will calculate the minimum wage using the index. The new minimum wage will be effective the following January 1.

Tipped employees in Florida must be paid a minimum direct wage of $3.13 per hour beginning May 2. Each year, the minimum direct wage for tipped employees will be the difference between the federal Fair Labor Standard Act's 2003 tip credit of $3.02 from Florida's minimum wage. Tipped employees are those earning at least $30 in tips per month.

Employees may file civil lawsuits against employers for violations of the amendment. A prevailing employee may recover double the amount of wages owed as well as attorney's fees and costs. Employers that willfully violate the minimum wage provisions may be required to pay a fine of $1,000 for each violation.

In addition, the minimum-wage amendment prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against an employee for exercising his or her rights under the amendment.

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