Florida voters just passed an amendment to increase the minimum wage from $8.56 an hour to $15 an hour by 2026, making Florida the eighth state to adopt a $15 minimum wage. As in other states, the amendment will gradually increase the wage floor over the next six years, raising it to $10 next year and then upping it by $1 each year until the minimum wage reaches $15 in 2026.
The wage hike could impact about 2.5 million workers in Florida—reportedly more than a quarter of the state’s workforce—and comes in the midst of a pandemic that has taken a significant toll on low-wage workers, particularly women of color. Still, Florida’s restaurant industry and other opponents of the measure worry that minimum wage increases could negatively impact businesses that are already struggling amid the pandemic.
Florida previously voted to increase the minimum wage to $6.15 an hour in 2004. Subsequent increases were due to inflation.
Since 2012, the Fight for 15 campaign—spearheaded by the Service Employees International Union—has been a driving force behind minimum wage increases across the country. But the $15 minimum wage proposals that have passed so far have largely been in blue states, and the federal minimum wage has stagnated at $7.25 for the last decade. The Florida vote could help encourage other states to follow suit—or, depending on the outcome of the presidential election, even help move the needle on a federal minimum wage increase.