Don’t spend it all in one place, folks.
According to the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity
, minimum wage in Florida is about to jump
from $8.46 to $8.56 an hour on Jan. 1. The new wages will also include a minimum wage of at least $5.54 an hour for tipped employees.
Of course, all of this is absolutely meaningless for Florida’s increasing population of working poor, which means despite having a job, you are unable to pay your bills, afford healthcare or other basic necessities, and are essentially just one accident away from sliding into near irreversible poverty.
Sure, any pay increase is good, and the new wage is better than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, but this extra dime doesn’t get anyone remotely close to an actual “living wage.”
For some perspective, this bump means that the average minimum wage earner in Florida, who works 40 hours per week and 50 weeks per year, will now get an extra $200 before taxes. In other words, they’ll earn $17,120 a year instead of $16,920.
Either way, this is far below 2019’s federal poverty level of $25,750
The only shred of hope in all of this is that Florida voters will be able to fix this embarrassing problem in November, as the proposal to gradually raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour will finally be on the ballot
A 2017 report from United Way found that 3.3 million households across Florida, which is almost half of Florida’s families, are classified as “working poor.”
A report in June said Orlando area minimum wage earners
have to work 85 hours a week to afford cheapest apartments. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced in October
that full- and part-time city employees would begin receiving a $15 minimum wage, the Sentinel reported.
Nearby, Tampa has made some worthy strides in this regard. Last August, Tampa mayor Jane Castor announced that all city employees
will earn a starting salary of $15 an hour.
Now let's just do everyone else.
Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.