Minimum wage workers see bigger paychecks in 2018


Ringing in the new year with a cha-ching!  Floridian's making a minimum wage will see more money in their paychecks come January first.


Florida is one of 29 states that pays workers a more than the Federal minimum wage, and on January 1, 2018 that rate bumps up from $8.10 to $8.25 an hour.


"That's really great, any kind of increase definitely helps everybody in every kinda way because, you know, people need money nowadays for everything," said Jasmine Jimenez.


"I think a lot of people work really hard for what they do, and having just that little extra umph it makes a big impact in your life," Stephanie Oxendine said.


Sunshine state voters put this increase into motion back in 2004, voting in favor of a state constitutional amendment to link Florida’s minimum wage to the rate of inflation.  So the wage potentially can increase every year, but will never go down.


The $.15 hike may not sound like a lot of money, but to people who depend on those paychecks, every penny counts.  After taxes, workers tell us it's hard to survive, and people are struggling.


"It's very hard the live off the minimum wage when rent itself is like $900 and you got your bills,” Jimenez said.  “It's really hard, some people go a couple days without eating and things like that."


"Right now I’m in a situation where we stay inside a hotel room because whenever you want to rent out a place you have to have a deposit and all this other stuff, and making $8 and some change is not gonna do it," said Alex Harris.


Those against raising wages argue it would have an adverse effect, making consumers pay higher prices, or forcing employers to lay off staff.


"I don’t think minimum wage is meant to make a living off of, you're supposed to climb up the ladder if you want to raise a family and everything," Chelsea Smith said.


Still, many people don't think $8.25 an hour is enough.  Earlier this year, workers took a stand against low pay, joining a nationwide push to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.  Those fighting argue people need to take home a paycheck they can really live off of.


"You shouldn’t have to sacrifice stuff every single time you get paid just to take care of the bare minimum,” Harris said.  “That’s unfair."


The Federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, it hasn't changed since 2009.


Workers in Washington D.C take home the highest minimum wage in the country at $11.50 an hour.

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