Living Wages in Local Government
In 2020, Florida voters approved Amendment 2 in a statewide referendum, amending the Florida Constitution to provide for an incremental increase in the state’s minimum wage. The amendment raised the state minimum wage to $10.00 per hour as of September, 2021. The minimum wage is then scheduled to increase by $1.00 each subsequent September, before plateauing at $15.00 in 2026.
Currently, the state minimum wage stands at $11.00 per hour, though a number of local governments have passed “living wage” ordinances to supplement wages in higher cost communities. Four counties have incorporated a living wage index for workers on county contracts, with several requiring even more competitive wages for employees with no health benefits.
A living wage is expected to adequately meet an individual’s basic needs within an assumed 40-hour work week. Accordingly, communities throughout the state have a wide range of living wage thresholds, based on unique local market conditions. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Urban Studies and Planning Department developed a dashboard estimating the living wage thresholds of each of Florida’s 67 counties. Per their estimates, the difference between the highest and lowest living wage thresholds by county is $5.44.