Florida Voters Approve a $15 Minimum Wage

This article was written by By Peter RomeoJoe Guszkowski and Jonathan Maze for Restaurant Business.

The 2020 presidential election is apparently far from being decided. But a number of states approved ballot measures that could have a significant impact on the restaurant industry.

That includes Florida, where voters approved a constitutional amendment calling for a $15 minimum wage. In California, voters allowed third-party delivery companies and ride-sharing services to continue classifying drivers as independent contractors. And several states passed ballot measures decriminalizing the use of marijuana.

Here’s a rundown of some of the election results from Tuesday.

Florida’s minimum wage

Florida residents narrowly approved a ballot proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026, making the Sunshine State the first in the South and the eighth nationwide to move toward what labor advocates have dubbed a living wage.

The increase from Florida’s current legal minimum of $8.46 an hour is projected to bump up the wages of 2.5 million workers, starting with a rise to $10 an hour on Sept. 30. The pay floor will then climb $1 an hour every Sept. 30 thereafter until it hits $15 in 2026. Afterward, the minimum will rise or fall automatically in accordance with changes in the Consumer Price Index.

The initiative had been closely watched by small-business lobbyists throughout the South because Florida has a decidedly conservative record on worker benefits and other social measures. It is also a bellwether for many neighboring states because of the jobs it has created through rapid economic growth. Many see it as a magnet for workers in a large geographic swathe.

The neighboring states of Georgia and Alabama both have a $7.25 minimum hourly wage.

Labor advocates hailed the vote as a major victory for hourly workers in the state and possibly beyond…

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