Florida minimum wage to go up 6 cents on June 1

TALLAHASSEE — The state's minimum wage will increase by 6 cents an hour to $7.31 on June 1 after a judge agreed that the state's employment agency was miscalculating the rate.

The Agency for Workforce Innovation posted notice of the increase on its website Tuesday, the day after a Leon County judge ordered the increase. The decision will affect about 188,000 workers and those working 40-hour weeks will earn an additional $128 annually.

"Now that it has been corrected, Florida's lowest wage earners will have a little bit more to make ends meet and will have some measure of protection from higher prices eroding their earnings," said José Javier Rodríguez, an attorney with Florida Legal Services, who, along with the National Employment Law Project, filed a lawsuit claiming the state was miscalculating its minimum wage.

Gov. Rick Scott was disappointed in the decision, but will not appeal it, said spokesman Brian Burgess.

"Florida's rate can never go down and it's pegged to inflation, so over time it will make Florida's rate substantially higher than the federal rate," Burgess said. "In the long run it will make Florida very uncompetitive."

Voters passed a constitutional amendment in 2004 that set a state minimum wage that would increase with inflation.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of four individual workers and three groups representing low-wage employees, claimed the agency violated the state constitution by keeping minimum wage at the $7.25 federal rate, where it was last year, instead of raising it to $7.31 to account for inflation.

The minimum wage for workers like waiters and bartenders who earn tips will increase from $4.23 to $4.29 per hour.

Florida minimum wage to go up 6 cents on June 1 05/03/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 9:58pm]

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