Last November, the voters of Florida went to the polls and — by an overwhelming majority — passed a constitutional amendment raising the state minimum wage by $1, to $6.15 an hour, and indexing it to inflation. Now a cadre of anti-democratic right-wingers in the Florida legislature are working furiously to undermine the voters’ intent. The group, led by Florida House Judiciary Chairman David Simmons, is pushing a bill that “creates loopholes for employers and eliminates vital protections for workers.” Simmons got help writing the bill from the Florida Retail Federation, which lobbied furiously last year to kill the amendment.
The bill being pushed by Simmons requires employees to provide their employers with 15-days notice before suing over a minimum wage dispute. If the employer pays the back wages during that time there can be no suit. This effectively eliminates any incentive for employers to comply with the law. Employers can simply withhold wages until their employees call them on it. Failing to comply with the law is transformed from a criminal offense to an interest free loan from the employees to the employer. Simmons said that employers shouldn’t be punished for “not knowing all the ins and outs of the law.”