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Will Florida raise the minimum wage to $15?

As a minimum wage worker, you are experiencing a slightly higher paycheck this year. With a 21-cent increase, the minimum wage is now $8.46. This is a 2.5% increase thanks to the fact that the state constitution connects the minimum wage to inflation. But while this is probably a welcome bump to your earnings, it is probably not enough. 

There are surging efforts to raise the minimum wage in the Sunshine State to $15. Here is a look at how possible this may be and why getting paid the proper amount is so important.

The proposal

There is a political committee called Florida for a Fair Wage that is fighting for a wage hike for the lowest earners in the state. Here is how the proposed constitutional amendment would work: The wage would increase to $10 in 2021 and increase by a dollar every year until it reaches $15 in 2026. 

Passing the first hurdle

This idea is coming even closer to reality for Florida workers. The political committee submitted more than 87,000 petition signatures to the state, which is significantly more than the requirement of 76,632 signatures. Now, it is time for the Florida Supreme Court to review the language of the proposed amendment. If the Supreme Court approves of the wording, the committee needs to raise at least 766,200 signatures in order for the measure to be on the ballot in November 2020.

Serious wage violations

Not only is the current rate not adequate for many workers, but Florida has a severe wage-theft problem. According to a recent analysis, Florida has the highest rate of minimum wage underpayment. Sadly, 7.3% (just over 400,000) of eligible workers report that their employers pay them less than the law requires. This means that many employers do not even adhere to the current minimum wage. 

If your employer ever cheats you out of your rightful wages, make sure you document the situation. You may be able to file a claim and receive back pay for the money you deserve.

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