MANATEE - On the surface, support for the recent increase in Florida’s minimum wage seems obvious: who would object to the state’s lowest-paid workers earning $7.65 an hour rather than $7.31?
But look a little closer, says an organization representing thousands of Florida restaurants, and the seemingly innocuous increase of 36 cents an hour has ripple effects that could mean bad news for an already struggling industry.
“Who isn’t going to walk into a voting booth and give themselves a pay increase?’ says Carol Dover, president and chief executive officer of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, of the overwhelming support shown by voters for a 2004 constitutional amendment that required Florida to set a minimum wage based on the consumer price index. “The problem was, most people didn’t understand that they may have just voted themselves right out of a job.”
Florida’s minimum wage will increase to $7.65 an hour starting Jan. 1. The change will mean about $14 more a week, and $768 more a year, for a full-time worker.