Universal Orlando to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour

ORLANDO, Fla. — Universal Orlando Resort announced Thursday that it will raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The company said the raise, up from $13, will give more than 18,000 current team members a pay increase based on the new rates and their time with the company.

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Universal said the announcement represents the single-largest wage increase in Universal Orlando history.

It will also increase start rates for many other positions based on job requirements.

Universal said the new rates will become effective June 27 and “will impact full- and part-time hourly positions as well as entry-level salaried roles.”

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“We are excited about our future and we want team members who will be excited to be part of that journey,” said John Sprouls, executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Universal Parks & Resorts. “This is about taking care of both our current team members and those who will be joining our team. We know a great guest experience begins with our team members, and we will continue to provide the best work experience we can.”

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“I was really excited to see the email today I’m going to be honest,” said Jessica Restrepo-Hernandez.

She and her fiancé are both team members at Universal Studios. She said the increase in pay is necessary as more companies are increasing pay.

Disney is slated to increase their pay to $15 an hour in October.

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“And you can’t have a big company like Universal paying their employees less than companies that don’t expect as much,” Restrepo-Hernandez said. “There is a lot of expectations working at Universal and they have to pay for team members who are going to meet that.”

Dr. Rick Foglesong, a theme park expert, said it will not only have an impact on theme parks, but the tourism industry as a whole as some workers left for high paying forms of employment during the pandemic.

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“So this is a way to bring workers back to tourism industry and I think the message for employers is they too are going to have to raise the starting wage for employees for entry level workers,” Foglesong said. “If they want to compete for those workers.”

The company said it is currently hiring thousands of full-time and part-time team members for the summer. Jobs are available in all areas, including attractions, aquatics, food services, culinary, merchandise, custodial and more.

Interested candidates can apply here.

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Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.