- October 20, 2020
by: Cat Ulrich
Florida’s minimum wage increased from $8.65 to $10 per hour on Sept. 30 as the first step under the $15 ballot initiative Amendment 2, which Florida voters passed last fall. Many business owners applaud the raise, saying it will benefit businesses and the economy. Florida’s minimum wage will increase again, starting in 2022, by $1 per year until it reaches $15 in 2026.
With a 61% majority, Florida voters across the political spectrum supported Amendment 2, which, as a constitutional amendment, required a supermajority for passage. Business owners and executives across the state came together in the Florida Business for a Fair Minimum Wage coalition to advocate for Amendment 2.
“Florida’s minimum wage increase is fundamentally good business,” said Jared Meyers, owner of Legacy Vacation Resorts in Orlando, Kissimmee, Palm Coast and Indian Shores; Tony’s Bar & Grill in Orlando; and Salt Palm Development in St. Petersburg. “How we treat people matters every day — from our employees to our community to our guests. Employees are more invested in achieving company goals when they are paid living wages and not distracted by working a second job or continual financial worry. No one in the hospitality industry — or any other industry — should be working full-time and struggling to keep a roof overhead and food on the table.”
“Florida’s minimum wage increase is great news for small businesses,” said Leigh Anne Balzekas, co-owner of The Disco Dolls, a clothing store, hair salon and art gallery in Tampa. “When people make more money, they can spend more in their local communities. And paying fair wages helps you attract and keep talented employees, which in turn helps businesses grow and thrive. When our employees are happy, our customers are happy.”
Richard Nesbit, owner of Alta Systems in Gainesville, said, “As a company already paying a $15 minimum wage, we know it’s important our employees are able to focus on work without being constantly stressed about making ends meet. Raising Florida’s minimum wage will help level the playing field so businesses can’t compete unfairly by paying wages that employees can’t live on. It will also enable Floridians to buy more from local businesses.”
Jennifer Todd, owner of LMS General Contractors in Pompano Beach, said, “We invest in our employees, and in return we see excellent retention, quality and safety. Raising Florida’s minimum wage will be good for business, help workers establish & sustain living wages, and help Florida build a stronger economy.”
“Raising Florida’s minimum wage will be positive for workers and businesses alike,” said Brianna Kilcullen, owner of Anact in Jacksonville. “Fair compensation means better quality jobs for workers and increased worker productivity for businesses. I’m also looking forward to my customers having more money in their pockets.”
Greg Noonan, owner of Connected Landscapes in Orlando, said, “I believe wage stagnation is the biggest problem facing small businesses because businesses rely on local customers for survival. It’s simple: When local workers don't make enough money, they don't spend enough money. Raising the minimum wage isn’t just ethical – it also helps businesses and communities grow.”
Florida’s winning ballot initiative underscored widespread public support for a $15 minimum wage. Ten states plus Washington, D.C., have now enacted a $15 minimum wage and are at varied phases in their implementation: Florida, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.