At the start of this year, Florida’s minimum wage rose to $8.25 per hour—a full $1 above the federal minimum wage. While this may be good news for many people in the workforce, there are some exceptions to the rule. As a young person, you may get the short end of the stick when it comes to compensation.
In today’s post, we discuss the circumstances under which a young person could legally receive less than the minimum wage:
- You work for tips. Maybe you’re waitressing while you work your way through night school. For such jobs, your employer must pay you a base rate of $5.23 per hour—with the expectation that you will earn at least $3.02 per hour in tips, totaling at least the minimum wage.
- You work informally. Maybe you earn extra cash by delivering newspapers or babysitting before or after school. Or maybe you take seasonal jobs over summer vacation or winter break. With such jobs, your employer does not have to pay you the full minimum wage.
- You’re under 20. Under the Youth Minimum Wage program, your employer can pay you just $4.25 an hour for your first 90 days of employment—or until you turn 20, whichever happens first. After that, they must pay you the minimum wage.
- You’re a student. If you’re a full-time high school or college student, your employer is allowed to pay you 85 percent of the minimum wage—$7.01 per hour. If you’re under 16 or a vocational school student, your employer can pay you 75 percent of the minimum wage—$6.19 per hour.
If you’re concerned that you’re not receiving fair compensation for your work, it’s a good idea to discuss your case with an experienced employment attorney. Under Florida law, employers who violate wage and hour laws have to pay a $1,000 fine per offense. In addition, they could have to pay you for your back wages, damages and attorney fees.