February 8, 2021

‘Tremendous fight’ looms in Florida over excluding ‘hard-to-hire’ workers from the minimum wage [Orlando Sentinel]

This post was last updated on September 29, 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:

"Just a few months after Floridians voted to raise the state’s minimum wage, Florida lawmakers are considering a proposal that would exempt more than 2 million workers from it.

Introduced by Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Pinellas County Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the proposal, if passed this upcoming legislative session, would place an amendment on the 2022 ballot authorizing lawmakers to create a lower 'training wage' for workers who have served time for felonies, who are under 21 and others considered 'hard-to-hire.'


'It’s been well documented how people of color, specifically Black and brown folks, are disproportionately impacted by over-incarceration,' agreed Tachana Joseph-Marc, a Florida Policy Institute analyst focused on criminal justice issues [emphasis added]. 'For example, here in Florida, Black people constitute roughly 17% of the state population; however, their representation as of 2018 was 47% in our prisons. This is just going to be another layer of that.'"


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