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Labor Report

Uninsured Employers Guarantee Fund

The Senate Labor & Industry Committee unanimously reported an amended version of Senate Bill 876 this morning to the full chamber.

Workers compSen. John Gordner’s proposal, changed by Sen. Lisa Baker to provide more predictable streams of revenue, looks to “address the underfunding” of the UEGF, which was established to help injured workers whose employers failed to carry required workers comp insurance.

SB 876 would make a one-time transfer to the UEGF from the Administrative Fund. It would also require injured workers to file a claim within 180 days of the currently-required notice to the fund. That worker must also provide proof of wages before filing a claim of lost wages under the act.

Under the amended SB 876, the Administration Fund could still carry a balance in excess of its needs and the UEGF could receive an additional assessment of $4.3 million.

I’ve been asking people what they think about this proposal and have developed proposed changes based on this feedback. If you’d like to tell me what you think, visit this link.

Solid Minimum Wage Reasoning

The minimum wage landscape is constantly churning, and it’s churning away from Pennsylvania at a rapid rate. Many cities are implementing $15 an hour base hourly rates while others are hitting the $10.10 rate with ease.

Pennsylvania is almost Stone Age with its $7.25 an hour minimum, so I wanted to share another in-depth story about why that should change.

A Manta survey of 1,100 small business owners has found that a higher minimum wage rate is favorable in certain industries.

The bottom line?

“John Swanciger, CEO of Manta, said he was initially surprised by the percentage of small-business owners who support a minimum wage increase. But after studying Manta's data, he said, ‘The overarching theme I’ve come to realize is the great majority of small businesses are already paying minimum wage, either well over it or somewhat over it,’” CNBC’s Elaine Pofeldt reported.

waiterIn many cases, Pofeldt found that many small business owners like to pay the higher wage because it attracts better employees.

“I’m of the belief that if you do the right thing, put your best foot forward and compensate people in a healthy way, they will do the right thing for your customer. Greater loyalty leads to higher revenue,” said Michael Lastoria, co-founder and CEO of a 14-location pizza chain in Washington, D.C. called “&pizza.”

Better yet is the most recent National Employment Law Project analysis of every minimum wage increase in American history. As the Washington Post reported May 5:

“Its researchers, Paul K. Sonn and Yannet M. Lathrop, went back and looked at each of the 22 instances since 1938 in which the United States raised its federal minimum wage … They found that 68 percent of the time, total jobs went up across the economy. Retail jobs increased 73 percent of the time. Hospitality employment rose 82 percent of the time. The researchers say business cycles explain the instances when employment fell: Each of those times, they write, the economy had entered or just come out of a recession, or was about to enter one.”

Labor Corner

Important minimum wage and labor-related news to share with you, without comment:

Labor Rights: A Consumer Issue

Portland gave its minimum wage workers a raise. Here's what happened next