Florida’s first incremental increase in the minimum wage went into effect on Thursday, increasing from $8.65 per hour minimum to $10 per hour.
The first in a series of wage hike increases come after Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment backed by Orlando TV attorney John Morgan. The measure was approved via a supermajority vote of 60.8 percent last election cycle, with more than 6.3 million Floridians say they favor a $15 hour minimum wage hike. Today marked the first step in that process, with the state’s minimum wage set to increase by $1 each year on September 30th, until 2027, when there would be an annual adjustment to the state minimum wage based on increases to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.
Months later, the debate surrounding a pay increase continues to divide officials and leaders across the state. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the largest small business association in the U.S., chimed in, releasing a statement in response to the first of six mandatory annual increases, saying the move will ultimately hurt small businesses statewide.
“We believe wages should be determined by the market, not politics, and that’s clearly what’s been happening as Florida’s economy has opened up. The latest NFIB jobs survey shows a staggering 50% of small businesses nationwide have openings they can’t fill, and while Florida’s minimum is jumping to $10 an hour, our survey shows that 41% of owners nationwide have already begun paying more while another 26% plan to raise wages in the next three months,” said NFIB State Executive Director Bill Herrle.
“Of course, that money has to come from someplace. Raising the starting wage will increase the financial pressure on small businesses that are struggling to get through the pandemic and could end up hurting workers as employers simply try to get by with fewer workers to offset the overall increase in labor costs. “It remains to be seen whether raising the minimum wage will affect Florida’s labor shortage. Our jobs survey showed that 91% of small businesses nationwide with positions to fill had few if any qualified applicants.”
Agriculture Commissioner and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried touted the first step to a $15 minimum wage while taking a shot at the Republican Party in Florida.
“No thanks to our one-party controlled state government, Florida’s minimum wage is up from $8.65 to $10 per hour starting today. By 2026 it will be $15. This only happened because the people of Florida demanded it. Your vote matters,” Fried tweeted.
No thanks to our one-party controlled state government, Florida’s minimum wage is up from $8.65 to $10 per hour starting today. By 2026 it will be $15.
This only happened because the people of Florida demanded it.
Your vote matters.
— Nikki Fried (@NikkiFried) September 30, 2021
Former Florida Republican governor turned Democratic congressman Charlie Crist agreed with his primary opponent, saying that Florida workers deserve “fair pay” before positioning himself as a governor who will support a higher minimum wage.
“Florida workers fought HARD to pass this wage increase last year and I was proud to stand alongside them. Our workers deserve fair pay and safe working conditions. Floridians deserve a governor who supports their fight for a higher minimum wage,” Crist tweeted on Thursday.”
Florida workers fought HARD to pass this wage increase last year and I was proud to stand alongside them. Our workers deserve fair pay and safe working conditions.
Floridians deserve a governor who supports their fight for a higher minimum wage. https://t.co/khDOEsmahS
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) September 30, 2021