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Living wage ordinances in Florida may be repealed

Wage claims often involve small amounts of money which can make a large difference to an employee trying to make ends meet. Wage laws can also adversely impact employees when economic conditions change after legislators pass the law. Readers in Broward County will want to know more about a proposed wage-and-hour law that could repeal local ordinances on living wages.

A committee in the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill on Feb. 20 that would repeal the living wage ordinance in Broward County that has been in place for decades. The measure would also prevent local governments from passing any similar ordinances in the future. The bill would impose new pay limits for contract employees that do work for local governments.

Rep. Steve Precourt is sponsoring the bill and says the current laws are distorting the local economy due to the large size of some counties in Florida. Opponents of the bill counter that the current living wage ordinances help local businesses by stabilizing employment.

The current ordinance in Broward County sets the living wage at $11.13 per hour with health insurance and $12.57 per hour without health insurance. Rep. Precourt's bill would also apply to ordinances that provide additional benefits to employees. For example, Miami-Dade County has an ordinance that provides 30 days of unpaid leave to an employee who is a victim of domestic violence.

Although wage-and-hour cases often involve small amounts of money, those payments can be the difference between a Florida resident being able to pay rent and falling behind financially.

Source: Bradenton Herald, "Bill to block local 'living wage' ordinance gets push in Florida House," Mary Ellen Klas, Feb. 21, 2013

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