And They Call It The Sunshine State?

 In a December 14, 2010 post, we talked about the best states for minimum wage earners. Right now, Florida doesn’t look very sunny to its minimum wage earners. 

Ten states’  minimum wages  are linked to a consumer price index(AZ,CO, MO, MT, NV, OH, OR, VT and WA). As a result, their minumum wages are usually increased annually. This year, 7 of those states increased their minimum wages. Florida, Missouri and Nevada did not.

Under Florida law, the inflation adjustment is appled yearly to a $6.15 per hour minimum wage which became effective in 2005. Before that, Florida didn’t have a minimum wage. If the state minimum wage is determined to be less than the federal rate, the federal rate prevails.

According to a lawsuit recently filed agaisnt the State of Florida in the Ciruit Court for the Second Judicial Circuit of Florida, the State’s Agency for Workforce Innovation was wrong when it set the 2011 minimum wage rate at $7.16 per hour-less than the $7.25 per hour federal rate. That error resulted from a mistake that was originally made when the cost of living decreased slightly from 2008 to 2009 and the minimum wage rate also decreased. The plaintiffs argue that the minimum wage rate should only increase under the applicable Florida law. Even with a cost of living increase in 2010, the 2011 rate is too low because the wrong base was used in its calculation. Applying a 1.4% cost of living increase to the right 2010 base rate of $7.21 yields the right hourly rate of $7.31. If the plaintiffs are correct, thousands of Floridians are already being underpaid.

We’ll be watching this case and we’ll report on its progress.