Eugene HonrathFlorida Small BusinessNews

Pensacola business owners, employees weigh in on impact as Florida minimum wage rises to $12

In Pensacola, Florida, the minimum wage for workers has recently increased to $12 per hour, starting this past Saturday. This increment is part of a voter-approved amendment designed to gradually raise the minimum wage over the next three years. Ultimately, this upward trajectory will continue until it reaches a maximum cap of $15 in the year 2026.

Bruce Camacho, the owner of Cycle Joint, a local business, has observed that employees’ incomes are being stretched thin, especially when considering the impact of inflation and monthly bills. He pointed out, “The cost of housing, coupled with car payments that can sometimes consume a significant portion of one’s income, including insurance and fuel expenses.”

Florida voters endorsed a plan in 2020 to incrementally raise the minimum wage for both non-tipped and tipped employees, increasing it by one dollar each year until 2026. As a result, non-tipped workers are now earning $12 per hour, while tipped workers are receiving $8.98 per hour, up from $7.98.

Dominque Westmore, a cashier at the Waterfront Rescue Mission store, expressed optimism about even a modest increase, saying, “It’s terrific – who wouldn’t appreciate a raise? This increase will make a significant difference, especially for those who are single earners or have children. It will also provide valuable support for students.”

Camacho recognizes the challenges of making a living in today’s economy and believes that business owners should strive to increase employee salaries whenever possible. He stated, “I view the minimum wage as just a starting point. If you have a valuable team member, a responsible business owner will find ways to compensate them according to their worth.”

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