• Seven states already have a $15 minimum wage
  • 2.5 million workers in Florida will be impacted by the move: Florida Policy Institute
  • The federal minimum wage across the country is $7.25 since 2009 

Voters in Florida approved a ballot measure Tuesday to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026, an initiative promoted by labor and minimum wage activists like the Fight for $15 group.

Florida joins Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut in approving a gradual hike in the minimum wage in the coming years. New York and California have already implemented a $15 minimum wage in some parts of the state.

The minimum rate will be increased to $10 on Sept. 30, 2021, in Florida and will increase $1 every year until 2026. From 2027 onwards, the yearly increment will be dependent on inflation.

Through this measure, also known as Amendment 2, nearly 2.5 million workers in Florida will be eligible for wages higher than $8.56 an hour, which is the current rate. Minimum wage workers make up for nearly 25% of the sunshine state’s workforce, according to think tank Florida Policy Institute.

The ballot measure just passed the 60% threshold required to pass an amendment in the state’s constitution.

“Because of the worker power we built, 2.5 million Floridians will get a raise. It’s time for corporations like McDonald’s and our national leaders to take note and finally bring wages to at least $15/hr for every worker across the country,” Gail Rogers, a supporter for the Fight for $15 campaign, said in a statement.

Businesses have not taken well to this policy, highlighting its impacts on commerce, especially small businesses. In a tweet, the Florida Chamber of Commerce said that a $15 minimum rate will reduce entry-level positions and increase youth unemployment. The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association has also argued against it, saying it would hurt the hospitality industry, The Washington Post reported.

In line with the businesses, a report by the Congressional Budget Office in 2019 found that increasing the national minimum wage to $15 in the next five years would lead to a loss of 1.3 million American jobs. Although, the report also said the move would lift the same number of American workers out of poverty.

In the U.S., the federal minimum wage is at $7.25, unchanged since 2009. Twenty-nine states have higher minimum wages than the federal minimum.

Presidential candidates in the ongoing tight race Joe Biden and Donald Trump have expressed opposing views on the subject. While Biden supports a $15 minimum rate, Trump believes states must decide on the issue.

Minimum wage
Low-wage workers protest outside the offices of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, May 30, 2013. New York restaurateurs urged Cuomo on Tuesday not to raise the minimum wage for tipped workers for at least another five years. Mike Segar/Reuters