Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association officials say they’re reviewing a bill which would raise the minimum wage for all employees in the state to $10.10 an hour.
In 2005, Florida raised its state minimum wage to $6.15 an hour. But since 2008, the federal minimum wage has exceeded Florida’s rate, meaning the law applies mostly to those workers who survive on tips.
A bill from State Sen. Dwight Bullard (D-Miami) is designed to trump the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Under the federal law, employers have to make up the difference between actual income and $7.25 an hour. Bullard’s law would make those workers get paid at least $10.10 an hour. He says raising the minimum wage is the best way to make today’s low-wage workers feel they participate in society.
“It’s not only disheartening for the outside observer,” Bullard says, “It’s really unconscionable for us to sort of live in America, demand certain things of folks, but at the same time entice them with iPods and iPads and iPhones.”
In a statement, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Vice President of Government Relations Richard Turner says the organization agrees with Bullard’s premise of providing a living wage, but goes on to say part-time, entry-level work, in his words, “is important and fills a gap in our nation’s workforce.”