TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – Tuesday’s election brought good news for minimum wage workers in Florida.
After a $5.2 million campaign— Florida For a Fair Wage— by Orlando attorney John Morgan to gradually raise the state’s minimum wage from $8.56 to eventually reach $15, Amendment 2 passed with just more than 60 percent of the vote.
The referendum will increase the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour beginning on Sept. 30, 2021, eventually reaching $15 by Sept. 2026.
Florida’s average income is only 87.4% of the national average, largely because there are so many low-wage service industry employees in the state. There are 123,000 workers at or below minimum wage in the state, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The only state with a higher number of employees making minimum wage or less is Texas.
Florida is the eighth state to enact legislation that will eventually raise minimum wage to $15. Here’s a look at how those referendums are enacted in other states:
By 2027, the measure will increase wages by $540 million for state and local government employees, according to a memo by the Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research.
- California: Effective since Jan. 2017, California increased its minimum wage by $.50 in 2018, then $1 increases each year until it reaches $15 in 2022 (and 2023 for small businesses).
- Connecticut: In May of 2019, minimum wage would increase gradually from $10.10 to $15 gradually, by June 2023.
- Illinois: Like other states, Illinois is also gradually raising minimum wage. This year, minimum wage was raised in the state from $9.25 to $10 over the summer, and will continue to increase $1 each year until evenually reaching $15 an hour by 2025.
- Maryland: In January, Maryland raised minimum wage from $8.75 to $11 per hour. By 2025, the amount will increase to $15.
- Massachusetts: Minimum wage in Massachusetts is scheduled to increase from $12.75 to $15 per hour by 2023.
- New Jersey: New Jersey has planned to raise minimum wage from its current amount of $12 per hour to $15 per hour by 2024.
- New York: Some employers in New York City are currently required to pay a minimum wage of $15, but many other areas will reach $15 minimum wage by 2021.
The federal minimum wage, $7.25, has not been increased since 2009.
According to a study from the Florida Policy Institute estimated that 1.3 million Floridians will be able to come out of poverty with the raised wages.
The study found that the amendment will directly benefit more than 1 in 4 working Floridians — 2.5 million individuals out of the 9.5 million employees by 2026.
The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association argues that 158,000 jobs could be lost in the state.
“We have seen too many places across the country that have implemented this wage hike, only to see workers who were promised more money instead lose their jobs altogether,” CEO of the Association, Carol Dover, said in a statement. “We are worried about our small businesses and the Floridians who will lose their jobs.”
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