Senator Tartaglione Introduces Legislation to Raise Pennsylvania’s Minimum Wage
Crafted in partnership with Governor Wolf, Senate Bill 12 would raise the minimum wage to $12 this year and $15 by 2025, followed by annual cost of living increases.
HARRISBURG, PA, March 22, 2019 – State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) today introduced Senate Bill 12 that would raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $12 per hour this year, and $15 by 2025, after which the rate would be adjusted automatically each year based on a cost of living index. The measure would directly impact about 1 million Pennsylvania workers in 2019.
Senator Tartaglione crafted the bill in partnership with Governor Tom Wolf. The legislation has been referred to the Senate’s Labor & Industry Committee, of which Senator Tartaglione serves as minority chairwoman.
“It’s been 13 years since Pennsylvania last raised its minimum wage and this raise is long overdue,” Senator Tartaglione said. “All six of our neighboring states have raised their minimum wages above the federal minimum, as have 29 states across the nation. Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has stagnated as the cost of living and worker productivity have soared throughout the Commonwealth and the around the country, and while income inequality has reached an all-time high.”
Pennsylvania’s minimum wage stands at $7.25 per hour, which is also the federal minimum. S.B. 12 calls for employers to pay workers at least $12 per hour starting on July 1, 2019. The minimum wage will increase by 50 cents each ensuing July 1 until reaching $15 in 2025. Starting on July 1, 2026, and each succeeding July 1 thereafter, the minimum wage would increase in proportion with the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland area.
In addition, the legislation would eliminate the sub-minimum wage for tip earners, workers with disabilities, apprentices, and students. It would eliminate the preemption on municipal wage ordinances, expand the powers of the Department of Labor & Industry to recover wages and penalties for violations of the Minimum Wage Act, increase monetary penalties for violations, and bring enforcement in line with the nation’s Fair Labor Standards Act.
Due to inflation, the minimum wage has lost 29 percent of its earning power over the last 50 years. At $7.25 per hour, a full-time, year-round worker would earn just $15,080 per year, which is below the federal poverty level for a two-person household, such as the single parent of an only child. Data show that most of Pennsylvania’s low-wage workers are women and age 20 or older. Low-wage workers contribute more than half of the average family income in Pennsylvania.
“Vital members of our community, such as child care and home health workers, bank tellers, construction workers, retail and hospitality workers who work full-time while making the minimum wage only earn about $15,000 a year,” Senator Tartaglione said. “They cannot afford basic necessities such as rent, transportation, food, and prescriptions. Many are forced to rely on public assistance to get by. The inability for hard-working people to care for their basic needs, or those of their families, is morally wrong and is economically unsound.”
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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or email at William.Kenny@pasenate.com.