Florida has Enacted New Law to Increase the Wages and Standards for Fast-food Employees

Florida is one of the states that has made new laws that affect the daily lives of many people who live or visit there. These laws especially affect people who work in fast-food restaurants. Starting on January 1, 2024, fast-food workers in Florida will get higher pay, better working conditions, and more protection from their employers.

Raising the minimum wage

Starting from April 1, 2024, a new law has been passed that increases the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $20 per hour. The federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour has not changed since 2009. However, this new proposal represents a significant increase. In addition, the new wage will be changed each year to account for inflation. However, the increase will not exceed 3.5%.

About 500,000 fast-food workers in Florida, which is about 6% of the state’s workforce, will be helped by this change. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fast-food employees in Florida earned an average hourly wage of $16.21 in 2022. This represents a significant 23% increase in their earnings due to the new law.

This increase in wages is expected to boost economic activity, in addition to its impact on workers. Fast-food employees are expected to spend more money on things they need because they have more money to spend. Research conducted by the Economic Policy Institute shows that if the minimum wage is increased to $15 per hour across the country, low-wage workers would earn an extra $107 billion in income and there would be 1.3 million new jobs created. Based on these predictions, if Florida were to implement a $20 minimum wage, it could potentially have even greater impacts than the numbers mentioned. This could set an example for other states to follow.

Improving the Conditions of Work

The new law has a provision that is meant to assist fast-food workers. This provision involves the creation of a special council. This council will have the responsibility of creating rules and ensuring that they are followed in the fast-food industry. The group will include people from various categories such as fast-food workers, employers, customers, and the government. The focus will be on ensuring the safety and health of workers, providing appropriate training, establishing fair schedules, and resolving any disputes that arise.

The council can also penalize fast-food companies that violate the rules. For instance, they have the power to impose fines on companies that do not provide workers with sufficient breaks or protective gear. They can also take action against companies that punish workers for speaking out. If a company continues to break the rules, the council has the authority to revoke their license to operate.

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In general, this council is anticipated to improve conditions for both employees and customers in the fast-food industry. It will ensure that workers are treated well and that companies follow the rules that benefit everyone.

Additional safeguards for employees in the fast-food industry

The new law provides additional protections for fast-food workers to prevent unfair treatment by their employers. This law prevents fast-food companies from treating workers unfairly based on their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other protected characteristic. The law states that fast-food workers should not experience sexual harassment at work. This includes any unwelcome advances or comments of a sexual nature that create an uncomfortable work environment.

Furthermore, the law addresses the issue of wage theft, which occurs when employers unlawfully withhold or pay less than the rightful amount for wages, tips, overtime, or benefits. Fast-food employers are required to pay their workers at least every two weeks. They must also provide their workers with a written breakdown of their hours, pay, deductions, and tips. If workers believe they are not receiving correct payment, they can file a complaint with a fast-food council or the state labor department. If their claim is proven to be true, they can receive the money they are owed, as well as additional compensation for any damages and legal fees.

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