On December 11, 2018, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners passed an amendment to the Broward County Living Wage Ordinance. The new law raises the minimum hourly pay for employees of service contractors and subcontractors who provide covered services pursuant to a Broward County service contract exceeding $100,000 per year, or covered airport services.
The wage hike comes after a year-long series of public actions by workers, including a November protest by Fort Lauderdale airport workers. The Broward County Board of County Commissioners has been sympathetic to claims that the living wage does not in fact provide enough for workers to live on, with some board members even attending a May rally in solidarity with the workers.
Although the living wage underwent yearly increases in accordance with inflation, County Commissioners placed a cap on the amount during the 2008 recession which was never removed. The new Broward County Living Wage Ordinance now sets an elevated base wage and new adjustment terms. Starting in 2019, the living wage rate will be adjusted annually by the lowest of a) the percentage increase to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) reflecting purchases of All Items in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL region; b) 3%; or c) the percentage across-the-board compensation increase for unrepresented County employees.
Effective January 1, 2019, the new living wage rates are as follows:
- For contracts entered into prior to January 1, 2019:
- $12.60 per hour with qualifying health benefits, or
- $14.23 per hour without health benefits.
- For contracts renewed, extended, amended, or entered into on or after January 1, 2019:
- $13.27 per hour with qualifying health benefits, or
- $14.90 per hour without health benefits.
Currently, qualifying health benefits must amount to at least $1.63 per hour, only a slight rise from 2018’s minimum of $1.61 per hour. However, employers should be aware that the Board of County Commissioners plans to meet in late January to reevaluate the current amount. The new mandatory poster notes that the qualifying health benefits amount is subject to change if modified by the Board.
The 2019 Broward County Living Wage Ordinance Poster also provides information on who is subject to the living wage, including a list of covered services; the penalties for violation; and actions employees may take if their employer is in violation of the Ordinance.
Covered employers must procure the 2019 Broward County Living Wage Ordinance Poster to display in a prominent place at the work site where it can be easily seen by employees. Covered employers who are subcontractors must post it in a prominent place at the subcontractor’s premises where paychecks are distributed. (Broward County Code of Ordinances, Sec. 26-102(h))
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