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Florida Highway Patrol Confronts Wage Issues


The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is calling for pay increases to help with retention issues and head off a potential wage dispute, according to an article by the News Service of Florida.

Referencing data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the News Service of Florida reported that the state average for police salaries is $55,050 annually, with starting salaries as low as $36,000. Moreover, until a recent 5 percent pay increase, rookie FHP troopers had the lowest pay rate among 49 states with similar state patrol units.

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which oversees the FHP, submitted a budget request to help address an ever-widening gap in pay. As stated in the budget request, the FHP struggles with hiring and retention “due to the inability to pay a comparable rate with local and federal law-enforcement agencies.”

After the FHP saw 203 troopers leave in 2016, they are proposing an increase from $38,000 to $42,000 for annual starting salaries. Additionally, the FHP is proposing an “experienced-based incremental pay plan,” which increases annual salaries to $60,000 after 20 years of service.

Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet will vote on the proposed budget in August. Until there is an official determination, the FHP is stuck at current wage rates. But in most private employment settings, wage and time disputes are not resolved by legislators. The employee and employer deal with those matters directly or in the courts.

To gain a better understanding of wage and time disputes in the private sector, we will walk through a few examples. An employee earns overtime pay, but their paycheck does not reflect the time-and-a-half rate for overtime pay. An employer fails to pay the proper minimum wage, earned commissions or a final paycheck. A worker is misclassified as an independent contractor and, thus, ineligible to receive benefits as a fully recognized employee.

In each of the above-mentioned situations, there is a wage and time dispute between the worker and their employer. Those parties will have to work together to resolve the dispute, balancing the employee’s right to fair and timely compensation for duties performed with the employer’s right to enforce policy and procedure. If the employer and employee are unable to resolve the dispute, a necessary business relationship between employee and employer breaks down.

Contact Us for Professional Help

Whether you are an employee or employer, it is not easy to handle all of the relevant considerations of employment law. There is a crisscrossing network of federal, state and local regulations. One must tread carefully to ensure adherence to all of those regulations. That is why it is vital to seek counsel from an experienced employment attorney.

With offices in Miami, Florida, Penichet Law has experience dealing with the complex considerations of labor and employment law. If you require legal assistance concerning wage and time disputes or other aspects of labor or employment law, please feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience. You can reach Penichet Law by calling 800-652-0408 (toll free) or 305-373-8809 (toll) or by filling out a quick online form.