Florida workers earning the minimum wage will see a 14-cent rise in their hourly pay to $7.93 on Jan. 1. Wages for tipped workers also will increase by 14 cents to $4.91 an hour.
Florida's increase will benefit an estimated 416,000 low-wage workers and boost economic growth through consumer spending by $62.7 million, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.
The state is one of 13 across the nation that will increase the basic wage mandated for employers. Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington will also raise their minimum wage on New Year's Day, boosting wages for a total of more than 2.5 million workers.
The level of the nation's minimum wage has been controversial, with fast-food workers protesting that they can't survive on the current wage and some businesses arguing a rise in the minimum wage will mean less hiring.
Bill Kent, owner of Fort Lauderdale swimming pool maker Team Horner, said he doesn't think the wage affects how many people a business will hire.
"No business ever hires anyone unless they have a need for the person," he said, adding that his company pays above the minimum. "I think these are more political arguments than anything else."
Florida Retail Federation spokesman John Fleming said retail workers in South Florida are generally paid higher than the minimum wage. The average wage for a retail salesperson is $11.47 in Broward County, for example, according to federal data.
"What is really unfortunate about Florida's automatic wage increases is that they are indexed to continually increase, but there is never a decrease," he said.
While the economy was hitting bottom in 2009 and retail revenue was plummeting, businesses got hit with a 6 percent increase in the minimum wage.
"That didn't help us create any jobs," he said.
The Obama Administration is seeking to boost the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and establishing automatic yearly increases to keep pace with the cost of living.
Florida law already requires a new calculation of the minimum wage each year based on the percentage increase in the federal Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners and clerical workers in the South Region for the 12 months prior to Sept. 1. The 2014 minimum wage was set on Oct. 15 by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
Employers must pay their employees the hourly state minimum wage for all hours worked in Florida.
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