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By: Melissa A. Santalone
A recent decision by Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal invalidated Miami Beach’s local minimum wage law, holding that a state statute preempted the local ordinance. In 2016, the City of Miami Beach enacted a local minimum wage hike, which would have gone into effect January 1 of this year and would have raised the local minimum wage to $10.31 per hour. In City of Miami Beach v. Fla. Retail Federation, Inc., the Third DCA analyzed a the ordinance under both a state statute and an amendment to the Florida Constitution. The state statute, Fla. Stat. § 218.077, enacted originally in 2003, provided, in relevant part, that “a political subdivision may not establish, mandate, or otherwise require an employer to pay a minimum wage other than a state or federal minimum wage.” In 2004, Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment, brought by citizens’ initiative, that established a higher minimum wage across the state than that provided by the federal minimum wage law. It also provided that the amendment “shall not be construed to preempt or otherwise limit the authority of the state legislature or any other public body to adopt or enforce any other law, regulation, requirement, policy or standard that provides for payment of higher or supplemental wages or benefits.” The Third DCA found that the constitutional amendment did not specifically nullify or limit § 218.077’s preemption provision, and therefore, Miami Beach’s local minimum wage ordinance was invalid. The City of Miami Beach plans to appeal the decision to the Florida Supreme Court.
Florida employers should look out for the Supreme Court’s ultimate decision on this case, but for now, they can rest assured that there will be no enforceable local minimum wage laws enacted to adhere to in the interim. Employers in other states disputing local minimum wage ordinances may want to seek advice on preemption statutes in their home venues in light of the approach taken by employer coalitions in Florida.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Melissa Santalone at [email protected].