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How much is needed per hour to live in Orlando?

Living costs in Orlando (Florida) have been rising during the last few years. But have wages risen as well? One example of this is the case of the restaurant called Hawkers Asian Street Food.

Many employees in the country have a very low wage per hour because the biggest part of what they earn is based on tips from clients. In the case of those non-tipped work jobs, salary is higher but sometimes not enough to afford all living costs.

Hawkers Asian Street Food case

Hawkers Asian Street Food just announced that they will rise to $15 an hour for those jobs that don’t get tips, and to $8 for all tipped work. Kaleb Harrell, owner of this restaurant, stated in this article that after just one month from taking this decision, his staffing problems are now solved because more people want to apply and work there. And now his employees are happier and less worried about their payments due to this increase.

The same article includes a couple of testimonies from employees stating how they stopped worrying about money and how they can now focus on their studies or what they want to do for their future.

But not all decisions are good or perfect, and this one has thrown up a controversy about whether this increase is enough or if it is just a strategy to seem to care about their employees and want them motivated, but they have not paid any attention to how much living in Orlando costs.

Cost of living in Orlando, Florida

Years ago, Orlando was the destination for many residents because of its cheap cost of living. However, a study made this year 2021 has shown that this is not the case anymore, and Orlando may become even less affordable than New York City.

Most people who pay rent in Orlando, spend almost 40% of their monthly income on this expense. And this will keep rising over the years because of the population growth of the city (around 1,000 people move into Central Florida each week), and in consequence, there is less available housing.

And in terms of buying a house, this has become even a bigger issue due to the shortage of available homes and apartments.

If the growth maintains this level over time this situation will become worse, especially if no governmental decisions are made. And unfortunately, wages cannot keep up with the pace of this rapid growth.

Is $15 per hour enough?

Therefore, coming back to the case of Hawkers. $15 an hour for non-tipped work seems not be enough to be able to live in the city.

The decision to increase all salaries (for tipped and non-tipped work) is always good to motivate employees and make a restaurant enjoyable to work at. But this decision must come from reality and know how much a person needs to live in the city. It is the business owner’s responsibility to offer a salary per hour in accordance.

Article inspired by:
Galbraith, A. (September 14, 2021). “$15 an hour is a joke”. Orlando Weekly. [Available here]

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