Understanding Florida's Minimum Wage Laws: Know Your Rights

state of Florida in a map

If you are employed in Florida, you should be making at least $12 per hour or at least $8.98 an hour if you are a tipped employee who regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips.

The minimum wage increased to $12 per hour as of September 30, 2023, and will increase by $1 each September with annual adjustments until it reaches $15 per hour in 2026. Beginning in 2027, the minimum wage rates will be adjusted annually for inflation.

Employers must pay the current Florida minimum wage and cannot legally retaliate against an employee for exercising his or her right to receive fair pay for the hours worked, including overtime wages. A worker who has not received the lawful minimum wage and has properly notified their employer of the discrepancy may file a civil lawsuit to recover back wages plus damages and reasonable attorney’s fees.

An experienced Florida minimum wage attorney with Cruz Law Firm, P.A., can help you understand your legal rights to fair wages under Florida’s Constitution. Our experienced attorneys understand Florida minimum wage laws. We can help you seek the unpaid wages you are due and additional compensation for being cheated by your employer. If your employer is not paying you and your colleagues correctly, contact Cruz Law today to discuss your case.

Key Exemptions to Florida Minimum Wage Law

Florida’s minimum wage law aligns with the minimum wage requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act when it comes to who is eligible to receive the state minimum wage. There are several exemptions to who must be paid a minimum wage, including:

Filing a Claim for Unpaid Wages in Florida

dollar bill with coins on the top to represent minimum wageIf you believe your employer is violating Florida’s minimum wage law by not paying you a proper wage, you must first notify your employer in writing of the problem and inform the employer that you intend to file a legal claim to recover the unpaid back wages you are owed. This notice should state:

  • The dates and hours of work that you were not properly paid for
  • The total amount of money your employer owes you
  • Your request for payment of the unpaid wages

Your employer has 15 days to respond to your request. If your employer does not respond and pay what you are owed, you have the right to proceed with a lawsuit. Keep a copy of the written notice and any supporting documents, particularly pay stubs.

Our experienced attorneys can tell you that if your employer receives a notification letter on a law firm’s letterhead, they will understand that you know your rights and mean business. At Cruz Law Firm, we can make sure your letter states the proper legal requirements for your employer to meet and accurately calculates the money you are owed. If your employer fails to respond appropriately, we will be prepared to take legal action on your behalf.

Filing an Unpaid Wages Lawsuit

If you are not being paid properly, others where you work may be facing the same issue. Depending on the scope of the violation, it may be beneficial to file a confidential complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor. The DOL can investigate complaints and enforce the law, especially when there is wide-ranging abuse of employees.

However, in most cases, it is more efficient and quicker for an individual to pursue justice by filing a lawsuit in a local civil court.

The Cruz Law Firm can file a civil lawsuit and, if appropriate, a complaint to the DOL on your behalf if your employer does not respond appropriately to your demand for back pay and payment of the minimum wage going forward. Our employment law attorneys will assemble documents and witnesses to support your case and advocate for you in court.

A lawsuit may seek:

  • Back pay, the full amount of wages your employer failed to pay you, plus …
  • Liquidated damages, compensation equal to the back pay awarded to you, plus …
  • Attorneys’ fees and costs, which under federal law, employers must pay if they lose a wage-theft lawsuit.
  • Reinstatement to your job if you were fired because of your complaints, and other appropriate injunctive relief.

You have four years from the date the claim arose to file a lawsuit under the Florida Minimum Wage Act. If you can prove that your employer willfully violated the Florida Minimum Wage Act, you have five years to file a lawsuit.

Talk to Our Experienced Florida Unpaid Wages Attorneys

If you are not being paid properly at work in Florida, there is help available to you. A wage theft lawyer with Cruz Law Firm will stand up for your rights at no cost to you. If we can file a civil action seeking back pay of minimum wages for you, we will do so on a contingency basis. If we win, your employer will be required to pay our reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. If we do not recover money for you, we will not charge you any legal fee.

At Cruz Law, our workers’ rights attorneys have handled some of Florida’s toughest cases of wage theft, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Over the years, we have recovered more than $15 million for hard-working Florida residents like you.

Contact Cruz Law Firm today to speak to a knowledgeable employment lawyer. Our legal team stands up for workers’ rights by serving clients from throughout Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and the Florida Panhandle. Call us at (850) 701-8838 now for a free and confidential consultation about your legal options and how we can protect your rights during this difficult time.

At Cruz Law Firm, P.A., we represent employees in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and throughout the Florida Panhandle. We’ll fight to protect your employment rights, from workplace discrimination and sexual harassment to wrongful termination and whistleblower claims. Let us put our experience to work for you.