Your Guide to Florida’s Minimum Wage

What are the new Florida minimum wage changes that just took place?

On January 1, 2019, Florida’s minimum wage is set to increase from $8.25 to $8.46. With this change, tipped workers must be paid $5.44 per hour and earn at least $3.02 in tip credits.

Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced that the minimum wage in Florida would increase from $8.25 to $8.45, effective January 1, 2019. This increase and future ones are tied to the DEO’s obligation under Florida law to raise the minimum wage rate based on the federal Consumper Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clierical Workers in the South Region.

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Are there plans to change the minimum wage after 2019?

Florida’s minimum wage is recalculated each year on September 30 — based on the Consumer Price Index — and either remains steady or increases by a small amount.

While there are no laws in play to change the minimum wage in Florida, some state Senate legislators are fighting to gradually increase the state’s base pay to $15 per hour.

How should small business owners prepare for minimum wage and paid leave increases?

Every business is different, so there isn’t one right way to prepare. Here are a few options you may want to consider:

  • Audit your expenses: Check your cash flow in detail and create a hiring plan that you can afford. In some cases, you may find that hiring temporary workers as needed is less expensive than taking on full-time regular staff.
  • Make sure you hire and keep the right employees: Replacing an employee costs a lot. You decrease the total cost associated with recruiting and training when you hire (and then retain) the right people. Look for candidates with good track records, who come recommended, and who fit in with the company culture. Once they’re onboarded, make sure you build a relationship and provide paths for growth; it makes it more likely that they will stay in their role.
  • Increase prices: This is a great way to increase cash flow. Customers are rarely happy with a price hike, but keep in mind that your competitors will be forced to do the same. Just make sure you keep track of trends, and don’t raise prices too high.
  • Update tech: Consider automating certain aspects of the work (like payroll), and find ways to reduce production costs.

As always, to make sure your business is prepared and stays in compliance, we recommend that you discuss these upcoming changes to the Florida minimum wage and paid family leave laws with your accountant and lawyer.