HARRISBURG, Jan. 27, 2015 – Pennsylvania’s frontline workers who are languishing with poverty-level wages would finally be paid more under new minimum wage legislation that state Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione announced today.

The five-bill proposal would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016 and make the state’s tipped minimum 70 percent of the regular base hourly rate. After the increase to $10.10, Sen. Tartaglione’s proposal would tie future increases to the rate of inflation.

“Pennsylvania is the only state in the Northeast that has not listened to the cries of tens of thousands of hardworking residents who are suffering because prices have increased but their paychecks have not for six long years,” Tartaglione said. “We must agree to require businesses to pay workers higher wages not because other states have done it; we must agree to more because it is the right thing to do for them, for taxpayers, and the economy.”

Tartaglione’s Senate Bill 195 would increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $8.67 an hour by July 1 and $10.10 an hour by Jan. 1, 2016.

The tipped minimum wage, covered by Senate Bill 196, would increase from $2.83 an hour to $3.95 an hour on July 1, and would equal 70 percent of the regular minimum at the start of 2016.

“More than 87,000 Pennsylvanians receive just $7.25 for each 60 minutes they work,” Tartaglione said. “It’s hard for many minimum wage workers to buy the things their employers are selling because they don’t have the money to pay for other important things, like electricity.”

Nearly twice as many workers (157,000), the senator said, receive the tipped minimum wage.

The other three bills in Sen. Tartaglione’s minimum wage package include:

  • Senate Bill 197, which would provide annual cost-of-living increases to the minimum wage based on the Consumer Price Index,
  • Senate Bill 198, which would modernize the state wage payment and collection law to increase recordkeeping requirements for employers and enforcement duties of the state Department of Labor & Industry. It would also allow employees to receive back wages and two times those wages in damages, and
  • Senate Bill 199, which would prohibit employers from deducting bank fees or charges from employee tips when a customer pays their bill with a credit card.

According to a Wall Street Journal analysis last December of federal consumer spending statistics between 2007 and 2013, middle class Americans had to adjust for a 24-percent increase in healthcare costs, 26-percent higher rent bills and 12.5 percent more for food.

“Unfortunately, a minimum wage earner doesn’t need a study to confirm that most everything for them costs too much money,” Tartaglione said. “We need a higher minimum wage now because the cost of not making this a requirement will cause more harm.”


Follow Sen. Christine Tartaglione on Facebook and her website.