Florida votes to increase minimum wage to $15 an hour over 6 years

Florida minimum wage workers will be getting a raise as the state voted to increase the state’s base pay to $15 an hour. But the money won’t all come at once. It will be phased in over six years, The Associated Press reported.

The measure won with 60.8% of the vote, according to The New York Times.

It needed 60% to pass, CNBC and the AP reported.

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Currently, the minimum wage is set at $8.56 an hour, with the federal minimum wage set at $7.25, the AP reported.

Supporters say even the higher rate in Florida compared to the federal wage, it was impossible to live on because of the cost of living in the state.

The raise will increase the wages of about a quarter of the state’s workforce, according to the Florida Policy Institue.

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Seven other states have also agreed to raise the minimum wage over the next few years.

Opponents of the state constitutional amendment said the measure would hurt a tourism economy trying to bounce back after the coronavirus pandemic. They said businesses would not be able to afford the pay increase, causing more layoffs, the AP reported.

To get to the $15 level, the first raise will go into effect next year, raising the minimum wage to $10, then giving workers a $1 a year increase until they reach $15 in 2026. After that point, increases will correspond with inflation starting in 2027.