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Florida Votes to Raise Minimum Wage to $15

Sun November 8, 2020 Business

         Florida voters recently approved Amendment 2 which raises the state minimum wage to $15 an hour. A 60 percent supermajority was required for approval, and the amendment barely squeaked by with just 61 percent of the vote. As a result, effective September 30, 2021, Florida minimum wage will rise from $8.56 to $10 an hour and then increase $1 every year until it reaches $15 per hour on September 30, 2026. Starting September 30, 2027, the wage will be adjusted annually for inflation. Florida employers must ensure that tipped employees’ tips combined with the current tipped minimum wage of $5.54 an hour meets or exceeds the new state minimum wage. 

         Floridians last voted to increase minimum wage in 2004. At that time, minimum wage was set at $6.15 and adjusted annually for inflation. Approximately 200,000 Floridians live on the current state minimum wage of $8.56 which, for full-time employees, amounts to an annual salary of $17,804, just barely over the federal poverty guideline for a family of two. On top of that, Florida is among the states with a higher cost of living, according to the Council for Community & Economic Research (C2ER), which collects and publishes cost of living index data at the state and local level.

         In raising the minimum wage to $15, Florida joins Washington DC and seven states—California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. Twenty-three states have a minimum wage of between $8.65 (Montana) and $12 (Arizona, Colorado, Maine), with Oregon maintaining a three-tiered minimum wage of $11.50 for rural counties, $12 for non-rural counties, and $13.25 for the Portland metro area.

         Meanwhile, federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 per hour since July 4, 2009. Nineteen states have followed suit by holding their minimum wage at $7.25 (or less) or having no state minimum wage at all: Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.