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Minimum wage rises 4 cents an hour for Floridians this week

If you're a Floridian being paid minimum wage, look for a little something extra in your paycheck starting Friday.

With the emphasis on little.

The federal minimum wage is rising from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour. Under a state constitutional amendment, the Florida minimum wage rises annually, most recently set at $7.21 in January.

In deciding whether federal or state minimum wage applies, federal law directs that businesses must pay the higher of the two.

So, the bottom line: a paycheck increase of 4 cents an hour starting Friday.

(The minimum wage is calculated differently for tipped employees. But that also translates to a 4 cent boost, from $4.19 per hour plus tips to $4.23 plus tips.)

An estimated 4.5 million people nationally are paid minimum wage. In Florida, about 330,000 people last year were being paid at or below the new minimum wage of $7.25, according to recently released data from the U.S. Labor Department.

Historically, some businesses, particularly small businesses operating on a shoestring, have argued against minimum wage laws as a job killer.

But advocates say increasing the amount of money in the hands of the masses will let people buy more goods and services and help lift the country out of recession. Indeed, the first federal minimum wage was put in place during the Great Depression to try to stimulate economic recovery.

Minimum wage rises 4 cents an hour for Floridians this week 07/22/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 8:47pm]
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