Miami-Dade County

Minimum wage workers get 1.85% hourly raise

Florida’s minimum wage increases on Monday.
Florida’s minimum wage increases on Monday. Miami Herald file

Florida workers who earn minimum wage get a 1.85 percent hourly raise to start the new year.

The state’s minimum wage will increase to $8.25 an hour Monday, 15 cents higher than the current rate of $8.10. Under a state constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2004, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity adjusts the wage each year based on changes in a federal consumer price index.

The wage applies to all Florida workers who are covered by the federal minimum wage, according to the Department of Economic Opportunity. Since the passage of the amendment and the enactment of Florida’s minimum wage law in 2005, the state minimum wage has risen $2.10 an hour, or 34 percent, since the original wage was set at $6.15 in 2005. The 15-cent increase for 2018 is the largest hourly increase since 2012, when the wage rose by 36 cents an hour, according to the Department of Economic Opportunity.

A person who works 40 hours per week at $8.25 an hour earns $330 before taxes. The 15-cent hourly raise equates to $6 for a 40-hour work week.

But the city of Miami Beach wants its minimum wage workers to earn even more.

Miami Beach wants the Florida Supreme Court to take up a battle about whether the city can move forward with a local minimum wage. The city last week filed a notice that it is appealing a Dec. 13 decision by the 3rd District Court of Appeal that rejected the local minimum wage, which was approved in 2016 and was to take effect in 2018.

Opponents, including the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, filed suit against the city, contending that local governments do not have the legal authority to set their own minimum wages. The case, in part, focused on a 2004 constitutional amendment that created a higher minimum wage in Florida than the federal minimum wage. Miami Beach argued that the constitutional amendment also allowed it to set a different minimum wage.

But the 3rd District Court of Appeal said an earlier state law prevented local governments from setting minimum wages, and that the constitutional amendment did not change that “preemption” law. The notice filed in the Supreme Court does not detail the city’s legal positions. The ordinance approved last year by the Miami Beach City Commission set a minimum wage of $10.31 an hour to take effect in 2018, with the wage going up $1 each year to $13.31 on Jan. 1, 2021.

A Miami Beach city attorney discusses the reasons behind the mayor's plan to raise the minimum wage.