Universal Orlando says it’s hiring for more than 1,500 positions — and in the process, has announced a raise in its starting hourly wage.

Base hourly pay for Universal Orlando team members now starts at $13. Universal had promised last year that it would raise its starting wage in early 2020, according to The Orlando Sentinel, but hadn’t specified a timeframe.

Universal said the available positions include roles in all its departments, including attractions, food services, merchandise, and custodial work. Certain jobs have pay rates above the $13 minimum; hourly pay starts at $13.25 for lifeguards and $14.50 for “deep water” lifeguard positions at Volcano Bay. 

The 1,500 openings also include professional roles in Universal’s finance, information technology, and entertainment departments. 

Unlike Walt Disney World, workers at Universal are not unionized. However, since 38,000 unionized workers at Disney approved a new labor contract in September 2018 that would bring the resort’s starting wage to $15 per hour by October 2021, Universal has matched those increases, with the Disney union sometimes taking credit for the pay raise. 

Universal has already committed to a $15 hourly wage for its under-construction Epic Universe theme park, set to open in 2023, but has not said whether its team members’ pay will hit $15 per hour at the same time as their Disney counterparts.

According to a June 2019 report released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, hourly workers need to earn at least $17.92 per hour for the average $932 in rent for a basic studio apartment in Orlando area to be considered affordable meaning the cost of the rent and utilities does not exceed 30 percent of their total household income.

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