Florida employers must pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour in 2010. This rate has been in effect since July 24, 2009, and will continue unchanged throughout 2010.
Technically the 2010 Florida minimum wage will remain at $7.21 per hour. However, by law, Florida employers are required to pay the federal minimum wage when it is higher.
When an employer is covered by both the federal and state minimum wage, the employee is entitled to protection under whichever law provides the greater benefit. In this case, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 is higher.
Many states have minimum wage laws that apply to employers too small to be covered by the federal minimum wage. Florida does not. The state minimum wage applies to every employee covered by the federal minimum wage.
Tipped employees in Florida must be paid at least $4.23 per hour. If the employee does not average at least $3.02 per hour in tips over the payroll week, the employer must pay the difference in direct wages. This ensures that tipped employees always earn at least the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour when tips and wages are combined.
Florida voters passed the state minimum wage on November 2, 2004. At that time, citizens were frustrated with a federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour that had not increased in more than 8 years. Finally, in 2006, the U.S. Congress passed a law increasing the federal minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour over a two-year period.
According to the Agency for Workforce Innovation, under Florida law, the state minimum wage increases each year based on the cost of living. However, when the Florida minimum wage is lower than the federal minimum wage, employers must pay the higher federal rate.
The cost of living as measured by the Consumer Price Index declined slightly in 2009. For that reason, the majority of those states will have no change in the state minimum wage. In Colorado, the state minimum wage will actually decrease by 4 cents from $7.28 to $7.24 per hour – the first time in history that a state minimum wage has been adjusted downward.