Sep 14, 2022 - Business

For workers, Florida is mediocre

Best States to Work Index, 2022
Data: Oxfam America; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Florida boosters love to tout the state's reputation as a great place to do business. But according to Oxfam, it's not a great place to work for a lot of people.

Driving the news: Florida ranked 29th among the 50 states plus D.C. and Puerto Rico on the anti-poverty nonprofit's latest annual study of the "Best and Worst States to Work in America."

  • Oregon topped the list, followed by its West Coast neighbors California and Washington state.

Details: Florida loses points for its $10 hourly minimum wage, which is about one-quarter of the $37.25 per hour that Oxfam says is needed to support a family of four.

  • Florida's minimum wage does extend to farmworkers, but local municipalities can't set the minimum wage above the state's.

Yes, but: Florida voters approved a mandate to make the minimum wage $15 by 2026 — so it will increase by a dollar on Sept. 30 every year until then.

The nonprofit also dinged Florida for its weak workplace protections. While the state mandates equal pay across gender and race and provides sexual harassment protection in state law, per Oxfam, Florida does not:

  • Accommodate pregnant workers.
  • Offer protections for workplace breast-feeding.
  • Provide some form of paid family or sick leave.
  • Extend worker protections to domestic workers.
  • Or establish a host of other workplace safety and fairness standards.

The big picture: Southeast states like Florida, where lawmakers have passed employer-friendly "right to work" laws that make labor-organizing difficult, dominated the bottom of the "best places to work" list.

  • Virginia leads the Southeast in worker protections and compensation.
  • Florida's closest comparison on the labor index is Arkansas.

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