ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando Health announced Monday it will start a process to increase minimum wage for all of its employees.

What You Need To Know

  • Orlando Health to raise starting wage for employees

  • The company said it will go from $11/hour to $13/hour by the end of January

  • Eventually the company plans to raise minimum wage to $15/hour by 2023

The company said it will spend more than $4 million to initially raise minimum wage from $11 an hour to $13 an hour starting January 31, 2021.

The minimum wage will then go up to $15 an hour beginning in 2023.

Orlando Health said the increase minimum wage will mean its workers will earn at least $4,000 more than they currently are.

“Throughout even the most challenging of times, there continues to be nothing more important than the well-being of our patients and team members,” said David Strong, president and CEO of Orlando Health, in a statement. “Our commitment is ensuring that Orlando Health is the best place to work begins with a commitment to ensuring our teams are supported financially. We know this wage increase will have a real, positive impact on team members and their families.”

The pacing of the pay increase is ahead of Florida's minimum wage standards.

More than 60% of voters approved a measure in November to push Florida's minimum wage to $15 an hour by the year 2026.

Florida's current minimum wage is $8.56 an hour, but will increase to $10 an hour by September 30, 2021 and then continue to go up $1 per year until 2026. The federal minimum wage is still $7.25 per hour.

Attorney John Morgan is perhaps the most visible proponent of the amendment effort to increase the state’s minimum wage.

“The reason it’s not been done legislatively is because big business and big companies like the idea of slave wages and keeping people down and making more money for themselves, and at the expense of that hardworking employee,” Morgan said during an episode of Spectrum News’ “Central Florida: Beyond the Soundbite” podcast in September 2020. “And, by the way, at the expense of taxpayers, because we, the taxpayers, are the ones that pay for all of the services that hardworking people can’t because there’s not enough money.”

In August 2018, Walt Disney World announced a deal with six labor unions representing 38,000 service employees to gradually raise starting pay through phases from $10 per hour to $15 per hour by October 21, 2021.

Universal Orlando Resort announced in September 2019 that it too would eventually reach $15 an hour minimum pay by 2021.

To Compare (using 40 hours per week, pre tax math below):

  • Florida's Current Minimum Wage: $8.56 / hour
  • FL Minimum Wage Annual Salary: $17,804
  • Federal Current Minimum Wage: $7.25 / hour
  • Federal Minimum Wage Annual Salary: $15,080
  • Annual salary at $15 an hour: $31,200

Wages have long been a focal point, at least in Central Florida, where the economy is anchored by many low wage tourism jobs.

Low wages and a lack of affordable housing has put many families in prolong positions of financial stress.

Orange County estimates the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is between $1,200 and $1,400. Many housing companies require applicants to earn three times the rate of rent to qualify.

For a $1,200 apartment, that threshold is $3,600. Those earning Florida’s $8.56 an hour minimum wage, working 40 hours per week, would earn only approximately $1,369 before taxes.

They also demand first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and a security deposit up front. For a $1,200-per-monthy apartment, a person could be facing $3,600 they have to come up with, even if they qualify.