Florida Minimum Wage to Increase January 1, 2012

Florida's minimum wage is going up 36 cents to $7.67 an hour on Jan. 1 to reflect a higher cost of living, announced the state's Department of Economic Opportunity.

The Sunshine State's minimum wage is now at $7.31 an hour.

It was raised six cents in June from the federal minimum wage of $7.25 after a judge ruled it should reflect a higher cost of living in the state to comply with a constitutional amendment.

Voters approved the amendment in 2004 to require Florida's minimum wage to keep pace with the rising cost of living.

The minimum wage for tipped workers will also increase 36 cents, from $4.29 to $4.65 an hour on Jan. 1.

Florida is one of seven states that have recently announced cost-of-living increases to their minimum wages.

Some Floridians have worried that the increased minimum wage will hurt job creation, particularly for teenagers or first-time workers. The state's unemployment rate of 10.7 percent significantly higher than the national average of 9.1 percent.

But the National Employment Law Project said the upcoming increase is needed to help working families.

"With staggering unemployment and slow job creation combining to depress wages, these modest annual minimum wage increases are one of the few policies that counteract downward pressure on wages and prevent the lowest wage earners from falling even further behind,'' said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.


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