Come Jan. 1, Florida minimum wage raise of 36 cents an hour means annual earnings of $15,954
Wake up and good morning. The minimum wage in Florida will increase 36 cents an hour from $7.31 to $7.67 an hour on Jan. 1, 2012, to keep pace with the rising cost of living, as required by a state constitutional amendment. That means the state’s lowest-paid workers should receive about a $14.40-a-week raise next year or an annual raise of $748. Annual earnings would total $15,954 under the increased rate.
The minimum wage for workers who earn tips will also rise by 36 cents, from $4.29 to $4.65 an hour. Minimum-wage laws in Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Ohio, Oregon and Washington include cost-of-living provisions. Florida's was approved by 72 percent of the state's voters in 2004.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
Workers right groups sued Florida for not raising its minimum wage in 2011, prompting a judge to order a six-cent increase in June. While the state posted details about the new rate on its website Saturday, it did not issue a press release to publicize the latest increase. The nonprofit labor group behind the lawsuit hailed the new minimum wage in a statement Monday.
“By putting more money into the pockets of these workers, who spend every penny they earn on basic necessities in their local businesses, raising wages for the lowest-paid workers will help sustain consumer spending and spur economic recovery,’’ wrote Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.
-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, St. Petersburg Times