Travel Weekly: New minimum wage law problematic for some Florida hoteliers

Nov 11, 2020

“Their bid to amend Florida’s constitution to pay everyone at least $15 an hour by 2026 was approved by 61.3% of voters in November. Now, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, hotel operators along with other Florida businesses have to figure out how to navigate the new labor cost environment.

For some, it won’t be that hard. Hotels in Florida urban centers such as Orlando, Tampa and throughout South Florida are already paying above the current $8.56 minimum because of competition for workers and a high cost of living.

Good hoteliers in secondary markets do much the same. At HDG Hotels, an Ocala-based operator of 19 properties in midsize Florida towns, managers last year analyzed their pay structure. “At the time, we had four people on a 500-person [full-time employee] roster just above or at the current minimum wage,” said Lisa E. Lombardo, the company’s chief people and culture officer.”

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