Impacts of raising minimum wage to $15 an hour in SWFL

A measure to nearly double Florida’s minimum wage to $15 an hour could be on the ballot next year.

WINK News took the controversial amendment to our local career source office, and they say the impacts here in Southwest Florida will be undeniable.

That is because the top three growing industries in SWFL are all frontline jobs, with retail in the lead and waiters and food service close behind.

The center’s data shows almost 200,000 workers make up those 3 industries, but the reality of right now is many of those workers are making about $2 more than minimum wage, which is currently $8.46.

This means the first people to feel the impact would be high school students looking for part-time jobs.

If this amendment goes on the 2020 ballot and 60 percent of voters approve it, the minimum wage will jump to $10 in 2021.

Then, it will go up $1 per year until it hits $15 in 2026.

But the impacts could trickle down to you and the products you buy.

“When we see that increase in wages, there will be effects,” said Jim Wall, the communications director at CareeSource Southwest Florida. “It will either come in shorter hours, price increases to the consumer or even one of the things that we’re seeing from the business side is more accent on job retention.”

Wall says other impacts we could see are four-day work weeks, and just all-around tough decisions for businesses that may be faced with having to hire less staff.

Many of the impacts will be discussed at a breakfast panel hosted by the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, which starts at the Broadway Palm Theater at 7:30 a.m. Friday.

Reporter:Janae Muchmore
Writer:Lincoln Saunders
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