Ten years after Florida’s ban on local wage policies, the Legislature expanded these restrictions to workplace benefits by passing HB 655, “Employment Benefits.” The new law stated that local governments were blocked, or “preempted” in legal terms, from requiring private employers and subcontractors to offer certain benefits — like health insurance, vacation, sick days, retirement, and more — to their workers. It also limited local governments’ contract negotiating power by preventing cities and counties from showing preferential treatment toward vendors who offered more robust benefits to their employees than others.
As with Florida’s 2003 local minimum wage ban, the state’s push to ban local employment benefits was a direct reaction to recent pro-worker efforts. In particular, HB 655 was a rebuke of the Greater Citizens of Orange County’s 2012 campaign to put the issue of mandated paid leave to local voters with a ballot initiative.
Despite providing no fiscal analysis of HB 655, the state claimed there would be a direct economic impact (presumably, positive) if employers were freed from providing locally-mandated employment benefits to their workers. Even with attempts to repeal this legislation in recent years, Florida’s ban on local governments mandating employment benefits remains in place.