November 24, 2021

Florida lawmakers to consider subminimum wage; critics decry it as ‘loophole’ to $15 an hour

This post was last updated on December 8, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Caroline Glenn writes:

"A year since Floridians approved Amendment 2 to gradually raise the state’s minimum wage to $15, a Republican lawmaker is again looking for a way to pay workers less.

State Sen. Jeff Brandes of Pinellas County refiled a joint resolution that would authorize the Legislature to establish a subminimum wage potentially as low as $4.25 an hour that employers could pay to new hires during their first six months.


One study by the Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added], a left-leaning Orlando think tank, estimated that Amendment 2 would lift 1.3 million households out of poverty, including some families earning less than $21,720. It found that as many as 2.5 million part-time and full-time workers would see their pay increase, mostly women and people of color working tourism and service jobs."


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