The Agency of Workforce Innovation announced Sept. 30 that Florida’s minimum wage will increase by twenty-five cents.
Effective Jan. 1, the minimum wage will be $6.40 per hour in the state of Florida.
The current minimum wage is $6.15, one dollar higher than the national minimum wage. The law affects all Florida employees covered by the federal minimum wage.
The Agency of Workforce Innovation must adjust the minimum wage according to inflation of the previous year, according to Article X, Section 24 of the Florida Constitution.
The new minimum wage represents a four percent increase in the federal consumer price index for urban wage earners in the southern region, said an Agency of Workforce Innovation press release.
The Agency of Workforce Innovation must make an adjustment on Sept. 30 of each year.
Warren May, spokesman for the Agency of Workforce Innovation, said the new minimum wage will affect college students who work for fast food and retail stores. Those students working in those industries will receive higher pay for those students.
The new minimum wage “won’t have a great impact,” May said.
Colin Anderson, an economic professor at FAMU, said, “Most employers pay their employees more than minimum wage anyway.”
Anderson said the increase in minimum wage will have a dual effect.
Employers are forced to pay employees more and will hand the additional costs to consumers. Therefore, prices may rise a cent or more.
One of the effects of the Florida minimum wage amendment is to end workers’ reliance on taxpayer-funded public services, according to the public policy section of the amendment.
Anderson said increasing minimum wage will entice people on welfare to look for work.
“Not everyone will get off welfare, but some will,” Anderson said.
Another effect of the increased minimum wage is to stimulate the economy.
Anderson said increased wages means increased spending. Since the state government receives its money from sales taxes, this will mean more money for the government. Also, with more spending, more jobs will be created.
Last year, Florida’s minimum wage increased $1.
May said the Agency of Workforce Innovation has not been able to discern any impact on the increase.
In August, the Agency of Workforce Innovation announced that Florida led the nation in creating jobs.
The agency also announced that unemployment in Florida in July was 3.6 percent. This is the lowest in Florida’s history since 1976. There were 8.39 million people employed in the state of Florida as of July.
As of Aug.1, Florida is the only state in the South with a minimum wage higher than the national minimum wage, according to http://www.dol.gov.
May said there is not a major movement of southern states following Florida’s example. Other states with higher minimum wages than the national wage include New York, Maine, Delaware, Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon and Washington.
Nicole Schuler, a 22-year-old graduate student at Florida State University from Sarasota, said it will be wonderful to have a higher minimum wage next year.
Schuler, who is studying child development, makes minimum wage at her job at Subway.
She said a higher minimum wage will give her more incentive to work because she will have enough money to pay her bills.
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